Director: Michael Mann
Writer: Michael Mann, Ronan Bennett and Ann Biderman
Starring: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, Billy Crudup, Stephen Dorff, Stephen Lang
After reading the blurb on the back of the $9.99 DVD I was preparing myself for a mind-numbing 143 minutes of car chases and gunfire. With such an instant dislike you may wonder why I bothered rescuing this film from the bargain bin. Well, I put my faith in Johnny Depp’s reputation of being in the best of films.
Three words; Way. Friggin’. Cool. The car chases were not boring (possibly for the simple reason that the 1930s cars are wicked!) and the gun fire had consequences. i.e. it wasn’t random gunfire for the most part – some bullets did actually collide with people or surroundings, which is always a bonus.
Public Enemies is a true account of John Dillinger’s (Depp) bank robberies, successes and being on the constant run from the cops during the depression of 1933-34. Despite it being rather difficult to distinguish many of the male characters during the dimmer scenes due to their very similar wardrobe, the characters were pretty well rounded and before you knew it, you were rooting for the ‘baddies’. You know the writers and film makers have done their job when you end up supporting the murdering protagonists. It’s like Dillinger is perceived as a superhero villain/rock star… He’s the dark superstar of the 1930s.
This action thriller is fantastic because it did happen which makes all of the gasping and gob-smacking moments even more appropriate. However, after doing about ten-minutes worth of research after watching the film, I realised that they embellished the love-interest and missed out the hugest mystery of all; the question mark over Dillinger’s death!
Apparently there was a look alike named Jimmy Lawrence who was a petty thief who became Dillinger’s alias in Chicago, and because John Dillinger burned his fingers with acid to remove his fingerprints, the post-mortem was inconclusive despite the FBI closing the case – possibly to save any more embarrassment in relation to the long chase. I think they should have included that, and laid off on the love interest of Billie Frechette (Marion Cotillard) a tad.
The filming and lighting was FANTASTIC! It was mostly hand-held with slow motion shots that made chills go down your spine and incredible shadows which created the entire mood.
“What keeps you up at night?”
Jodie’s rating: 7.5/10