“Public Enemies”
a review by Darby O’Gill

The only public enemy here, is the film itself. Seriously, this movie is going to piss off a lot of people. Wayne and I went to an advanced screening a few months back and we both thought it was a train wreck. Last month I saw a trailer for “Public Enemies” and was like, that looks good… oh wait, but I’ve already seen it and it sucked. I’m telling you Universal got the Leonardo Da Vinci of movie trailers to cut this trailer. And because of that, people who’ve seen the trailer and go to see the movie that’s in that trailer, are going to be really pissed when they find out they just bought a ticket to a slow, boring three hour snooze-fest. If I hadn’t already seen the film and only saw the trailer, I too would be looking forward to this movie. The sad truth is I have seen it and wouldn’t wish it on any of you, hence this review.

Okay, lets get down to it. You would think a movie starring Johnny Depp about John Dillinger, would be a sure bet, but sadly you’d be wrong. Johnny Depp gives an outstanding performance as Dillinger. He brilliantly plays Dillinger as an everyman. His intelligence, charisma, and wit just oozes off the screen. It just makes you want the movie to be that much better. Marion Cotillard’s performance opposite Depp is absolutely stellar. Actually the problem with this film doesn’t lye within the performances, however it’s within it’s vision, or lack there of. Here’s the biggest problem, the story is there, it’s just suffocated by the slow pace of the film. Michael Mann is always a hit or miss director. I think you would be hard pressed to find someone that would call themselves a true Michael Mann fan, because no one likes all of his films. It’s usually a 50/50 mix, at best. While you’re watching this film, you’ll think that’s cool, let’s have more like that, but nope that is quickly replaced with this. Here are some examples: When Dillinger breaks his crew out of prison at the beginning, you think, “Wow this is going to be amazing!” But wait, we’re going to hit the breaks and completely change the feel of the movie. Or when Dillinger is robbing a bank and telling people he’s not there for their money. Hells yeah! John Dillinger is the modern day Robin Hood… sort of? He doesn’t really give to the poor, but he definitely doesn’t steal from them, only the money they’ve already put in the bank. The shoot out and car chase in the woods is amazing and makes you think the third act is going to turn around, but… oh, Michael Mann, you’ve got me again. You’ll also have plenty of time to notice these things, what with the nearly three hour running time. The cinematography of Dante Spinotti all though outstanding, gives the film the look of something grander than it is.

Now to be fair, the film could have changed since the cut I watched, but in order to make it better they would have had to reshoot the whole film, which I know they could not have done. I for one am not willing to sit through it again to find out. If I’m wrong, and the “Public Enemies” you see is fantastic, please leave comments and tell me what you liked about it. If it’s something I didn’t see, I’ll gladly go see it again. I would really like this movie to be good, but until then…

Director’s Cut Rating:

2 Little People



==================== UPDATE ====================


Being a man of my word, the other day I went to another screening of Michael Mann’s “Public Enemies.” This time it was the theatrical cut. The first screening I attended was a test screening, and the running time was easily three hours long. The theatrical cut is just over two hours. I’ve got to say there was a very noticeable difference in the movie’s pacing for the first half of the film. In my earlier review, I mentioned the stop and go pace of the movie really taking you out of the film, just as you were starting to get into it. However in this version, the story just keeps moving, and really improves the first half of the firm. You’ll notice that I keep saying, the first half of the film. That’s because once we get to the second half Mann still slams on the breaks, and gives you nothing but time to think about how long you’ve been watching this movie. For me, it just gave me time to realize I’ve done this twice already. I still stand by my first review, but I will say this cut is just a wee bit better, and ultimately just leaves you still wanting a better movie.

Theatrical Cut Rating:

2.5 Little People

Advertisements