Thursday, July 9, 2009

Public Enemy Number One

I remember last year cruising down Lincoln Ave and being transported back to the 1930's. Now I've seen it on screen for a few brief moments. What an interesting film. After reading some of the critic reviews, I was very jazzed to see this movie. In actuality, I thought it might turn out to be the pick of the summer. While it didn't quite get to that level, what we have here is a pretty good movie.

It starts in 1933. Dillinger is already a big time bank robber. He's working to get some of his buddies back together so they can move on to the next big heist. That's what I found most surprising. The thing that he is famous for (robbing banks) is almost an afterthought in the movie. Don't get me wrong. There are robberies. There are shootouts. But it's more about the man than about his occupation.

You may be charmed by him, but you're not necessarily rooting for him. He doesn't quite get to the Robin Hood level. This movie paints what I would assume is a very accurate portrayal of the man.

What about the cops trying to catch him. Well, you don't really root for them either. Again, like Michael Mann movies, there is no black and white, just shades of gray. Christian Bale tones down his inner grumpy, but that doesn't mean he cracks a smile once (I'm starting to believe his face is incapable of making that expression).

I guess I was hoping for a historical version of HEAT, which this is not. This will be remembered as a minor work for Michael Mann. But for Depp, it reminds people of his gifted range. I had almost forgotten what a good actor he was. Sure he was great in the first Pirates movie, but the other ones were a waste of time for him (and me, you owe me 5 hours!).

Basically, you get the benefit of an accurate historical drama, but that also becomes it's Achilles heel. You wish is was a little more Hollywood or a little more realistic. This one lands smack dab in the middle.

Did you enjoy it?

Would you see it in theaters again?

Would you rent it?

Would you buy it?

Would you watch it if you saw it was on TV?


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