Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Public Enemies |
Actors: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, John Michael Bolger, Jason Clarke, Rory Cochrane
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
From award-winning director Michael Mann (Heat, Collateral) comes the film inspired by one of the country?s most captivating and infamous outlaws ? John Dillinger. Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean series) stars as the... more »
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Another Michael Mann Masterpiece
Terence Allen | Atlanta, GA USA | 07/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Public Enemies" proves that Michael Mann is right up there with Martin Scorsese at directing compelling crime dramas. This film, based on a book detailing the nexus of John Dillinger, J. Edgar Hoover, and Melvin Purvis, covers the last year and a half in the life of the famed bank robber, who was branded "Public Enemy Number 1" by Hoover, who was building what would become the FBI. Chasing Dillinger for Hoover was Purvis, who relentlessly pursued Dillinger until the fateful night outside the Biography Theater in Chicago.
Johnny Depp plays Dillinger as a fun-loving but dangerous criminal whose only plan seems to be to live life on the edge until he falls off. As usual, his performance is engaging and utterly believable. Billy Crudup wonderfully plays Hoover as a man obsessed with growing the Bureau, obsessed with public relations, and obsessed with capturing John Dilliger, and Christian Bale plays Purvis as an intelligent, capable, and caught in the difficult position of trying to catch Dillinger while at the same time pleasing a demanding, overbearing publicity seeker.
The film features great supporting performances from Marion Cotillard as Dillinger's girlfriend, Billie Frechette, and Stephen Lang as a veteran Bureau agent assigned to hunt Dillinger.
This is film has plenty of action and thrills, but also possesses great acting, intelligent writing, and masterful directing by Mann. Public Enemies is one the best films to come out in the summer of '09."
"What keeps you up at night, Mr. Dillinger?" "Coffee."
Leif Sheppard | United States | 07/01/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Public Enemies", helmed by famed director Michael Mann, is a thriller of the most testosterone fueled variety. It's a fast paced actioner brimming at the seams with intense shootouts and a well-stocked cast of steely-eyed, square-jawed men harboring classic narcissistic complexes. Johnny Depp makes a suave, calculating Dillinger. It's more of a manufactured character than an interpretation of the real life Dillinger, but this is of little consequence because Depp achieves grand theatrics with his sullen glare and devil-may-care attitude. He plays it much as I imagine Steve McQueen would've in his heyday, plowing through his world with a sort of darkly cool, apathetic demeanor that suggests he doesn't care one way or the other about anything.
The supporting characters are superlative as well, particularly Stephen Dorff as Homer Van Meter. There's an intensity to his character that Dorff really brings out. In fact, I didn't even recognize him at first (interestingly, he looked very similar to actor Tim DeKay). Jason Clarke, who portrays John "Red" Hamilton, is an actor primarily known for his television work. I surmise he was chosen for his striking resemblance to the real life criminal; just compare his photograph to the infamous mug of Hamilton. He's probably the most featured gangster, other than Dillinger, being that Hamilton is portrayed as his right hand man. Of course, Christian Bale turns in an able performance as respected G-Man Melvin Purvis - donning yet another one of his famed accents for the role.
The film begins in medias res with an exciting jailbreak, something which I greatly enjoyed. I was happy the film didn't waste time trying to explain Dillinger's childhood and upbringing. There is no hollow attempt to apply reason to his actions or place blame for his anti-social behavior. In the end it doesn't matter what led him to a life of crime, particularly since over the years the man has transformed from a folk hero into a veritable legend. With that in mind, it's obvious Mann's vision was ambitious. He attempted to pack all the nuances and complexities of Dillinger's world into only two hours and, because of this, the end product is a bit too busy. I get the feeling that a bit of streamlining the script might not have been an awful idea. That aside, it's clear that Mann knew what audiences wanted to see is a rip-roarin' take on the robberies, shootouts, and defiance of the law that filled the bulk of Dillinger's life right on up until the bitter end. This film performs those functions in spades!
The major lacking feature of the film is that characterization takes a backseat to the action. This is, perhaps, inevitable considering the large ensemble cast and the fact that nearly every character is based on a very real, very famous person. Often many seemingly interesting characters never quite gel with the audience because their screentime is so brief. One such character is Gilbert Catena, portrayed by Domenick Lombardozzi (probably best known for his role on HBO's The Wire). Still, those aspects aside, every performance here is stellar. Just glance at the supporting cast which includes: David Wenham, Marion Cotillard, Giovanni Ribisi, and Billy Crudup, among others. It's my fervent hope that upon its release to home video there's an extended cut of the film because I would love to see more of these characters (especially Pretty Boy Floyd, since he is only in the film for a scant couple of minutes).
I've noticed many critics mention that the film unnecessarily milks the climax of the film, which is obviously Dillinger's execution outside of the Biograph Theatre. I didn't mind this so much because it's such an iconic event of the Public Enemy era, and more than that, the film portrays Dillinger's death with precise detail and follows what we know of the actual event to the letter. The scene features numerous clips of the film Dillinger watched: Manhattan Melodrama, the gangster vehicle starring Clark Gable.
The film surmises, with good reason, that Dillinger probably identified with Gable's character. It illustrates this by showing one of the haunting final scenes, when William Powell offers to have his death sentence commuted, Gable replies with "You think you're doing me a favor by keeping me locked up in this joint for the rest of my life? I don't want it. If I can't live the way I want, then at least let me die the way I want." Dillinger's face expressed great understanding, perhaps even compassion, with this statement. It's a great cinematic moment, especially since the audience is very well aware of what is about to transpire in his own life.
I give bonus points to the production crew for so aptly depicting mid-west America during the Depression. Many real-life buildings were redressed to look as they did during the time and their efforts greatly enhance the atmosphere. Then there are the detailed setpieces (one of my favorites, though it's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it one, is Gilbert's shop), the hairstyles and slick suits, the classic cars - they hit all the notes correctly. There's even some archaic slang film fans will remember from gangster films made in the thirties, such the calling of prison guards "screws".
The robbery scenes, being the lynchpin of any Dillinger yarn, are somewhat brief but accurately portray Dillinger's tactics and methods. Also, concerning actual history, this film does take liberties with what really occurred (like any film does). Perhaps the most egregious liberties are taken concerning the demises of the various gangsters. For instance, Pretty Boy Floyd is depicted as being killed months prior to Dillinger's death (Dillinger even references his demise to Pervis), when in fact he died months afterward. Also, Homer Van Meter survived Dillinger, only to be killed a month later. These aspects are often a necessary evil, because a filmmaker must strike a balance between reality and entertainment - and the two do not always intersect seamlessly. If you want a version that follows the facts exclusively - buy the book.
In summation, "Public Enemies" may not be remembered as a classic action film, but it will be remembered as a classic gangster film. The most gratifying aspect is that, unusual for most action films, all the actors turn in very memorable performances. Some critics and the press have commented on how Bale is absent from nearly all the trailers and promotional materials for this film, but when you watch it, the reason is quite understandable. This is unquestionably Depp's film, and though I concede to not having a particular predilection for him, his role here is not to be missed. This is well worth the price of admission!"
Technically adept, fun historical supplements
Steve Kuehl | Ben Lomond, CA | 12/06/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I am an avid supporter of Mann's work so I had no expectations with PE of there being a crystal clear Blu (the cameras he uses) or articulate/perfect sound mixes that allow you to crank it up and still hear dialogue during action scenes. So in fairly rating the BD that detraction list all comes true here, but I still enjoyed the incredible attention to prop detail and filming locations - both of which get covered adequately in the special features.
The picture quality is standard to good as those cameras create the night blur/drag (similar to Miami Vice) but some of the outdoor scenes are clear enough to even see the lens/shutter change (reference the outdoor shot of the jail as Dillinger is driving/escaping - you can actually watch the camera operator change the filter from dull to sharp). The sound is mixed differently throughout depending on the location so some scenes are clear if the camera is pointing right at the speaker, but most do not allow you to have the volume set higher as the gun play is over-amped and/or loud scenes drown the dialogue (airplane, cars, guns, etc.). I still loved watching the performances and I already had read how historically inaccurate the story was but the other details made it a good film to watch - especially since they filmed in so many of the actual locations that the events occurred. Supplements are enjoyable and include:
* 20:32 minute making-of. Mann centers the interviews and flow of the documentary and includes some thorough depictions of how some scenes were made and character preparation.
* 8:44 minute Last Outlaw. Gives a brief history of how these guys were considered to be the last outlaws and covers the actual last moments of Dillinger's life.
* 9:48 minute Locations. Shows all of the work put into filming at the three main historical locations of the story (Bohemian Lodge, the theater and the prison). Shows what can be done if you have enough money to do it right.
* 9:39 minute Criminal Technology. Describes how/why Dillinger had the cars and guns that outperformed the police. Also shows how the FBI started to use more technology to fight these criminals. Some history about Winstead and his role in the shooting (references using outside law help to end Dillinger).
* Commentary with Mann. I always enjoy listening to his theory on attention to detail and what it takes for him to make a film - granted not for everyone.
* DBox - did not use it.
* U-Control. Allows for using the PiP function and incorporating time lines while you watch.
* BD Live. Did the Gangster Movie Challenge, it scrolls through multiple choice options of different movie trivia; had not watched American Gangster recently so I sucked and gave up but you should be able to get all of the PE questions. It does keep track and your score can be compared against other users.
The menu is the standard Universal left-feeding live background action menu (good scenes, good music) but there are more options this time around to help facilitate BD Live stuff (two different icons for that) and learning about how to use everything on the BD (another icon for that). Plus a live feed (similar to a news feed) stays on the upper right quadrant of the menu screen that gives updates on BD live events and other movie stuff.
Overall, a good product for fans of the film and those with a network connection."
"He went to a place. He was cold. He bought a coat."
Melissa Niksic | Chicago, IL United States | 07/03/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"That line from "Public Enemies," delivered by Christian Bale, made me laugh like crazy for several minutes straight. Fortunately, though, that was the only ridiculous moment of the film.
"Public Enemies" is a dramatic and enthralling tale of the story of John Dillinger, a notorious bank robber from the 1930's who was also known as "Public Enemy #1." Johnny Depp delivers a riveting performance of this infamous crook's violent crimes and constant run-ins with the law. The movie has a strong supporting cast, including Marion Cotillard as John's lover. Billie Frenchette, and Billy Crudup as the bizarre FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. As previously mentioned, Christian Bale, who in my opinion is one of the lousiest working actors in Hollywood right now, plays the role of the lead FBI agent on the Dillinger case. However, he amazingly didn't annoy me all that much, because his character is supposed to be kind of a putz (along with the rest of the law enforcement officers depicted in the film).
This movie is part gangster film and part love story, and it does a great job at being both. "Public Enemies" gives viewers an inside look at many interesting criminal characters, and shows us multiple sides of America's favorite bank robber. I think this is one of Depp's best films to date, and he was perfectly cast in the role. A couple of things about the film annoyed me, such as small deviations from real-life history and an ending that just seemed a bit anticlimactic (and not just because I already knew exactly what became of John Dillinger). Overall, though, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and highly recommend it, especially to fans of gangster films. This is one for the ages."