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Movies Public Enemies Review (SPOILERS and Tommyguns)


Film Elitist
Wait, WHAT? How? HOW could this happen? I mean I wasn't expecting HEAT but I never anticipated anything this terrible.

I'm stunned at how much they fucked this up. I walked out of that theater tired, bored, and completely apathetic. I'm baffled. Well this won't take that long I reckon.

Right off the bat I have to say, they opened the movie in a very awkward time and place. The movie is missing Act I and it begins at Act II. Very well. Not the first time someone has done this but just have to pick up from here.

So John Dillinger (Johnny Depp) is being escorted in to the Indiana State Penitentiary. Then it goes to inside the prison where Dillinger is now amongst the prisoners during work hours. They open up a cardboard box and there are weapons they managed to smuggle inside. They take the guards hostage as they make their way out of the prison and... it cuts back to Dillinger as he's entering the prison? No, wait a minute, it wasn't John Dillinger in the prision it was Harry Pierpont (David Wenham). He's another member of Dillinger's crew who has the same haircut as him and with awkward lighting, editing and cinematography it's becomes a guessing game to establish who's who in this film.

Seriously, there is so much chaos and discord with the cinematography and the editing in this movie. I question whether Michael Mann was actually looking at the village monitor. There were least two instances when either myself or my friend mistook another actor for John Dillinger in this film because so many characters have similar clothing and hairstyles as him. Combine that with ineffective low lighting, a very shaky camera and sporadic editing and it becomes painstakingly difficult to indentify characters and where they're located.

Is it just me or am I the only one who didn't give a flying fuck about a single character? Everyone is lacking a soul. Dillinger was 80% emotionally neutered, Purvis was a 1930's robocop with shittier dialogue and Billie was too easily succumbed by simple, unwitty allure. All the characters are so underdeveloped but they're played off as if the audience should already understand them almost completely.

The best transition is when they introduce Melvin Purvis (Christain Bale) as he chases down and kills "Pretty Boy" Floyd. However that is the only 60 seconds in which I like his character. As soon as he's standing over the body and his lyranx vibrates, words flow from him like piss out of a guy who chopped his own dick off.

This story doesn't have a beginning, middle and an end. There's no definite plot, no dramatic goal. It's a mess.

My biggest infuriation is the mesh of cinematography (I'm ashamed to call it that) and editing. Too much of the time the camera is too unsteady. It's always handheld which only increases the difficulty of the previous issue of visual identification. A majority of the time, natural lighting is used but it's not mediated or controlled in the best of ways. There are a lot of darker spots which I don't mind but the lighting falloff is slow and shows ugly details on it's way out. Many shots are flatter and do not eccentuate the actors physical features. Now because the editing is cutting together shaky, wobbly camera movements some of the lurking and action scenes are hard to follow cause the movement creates visual and sequencial distortion. There were times when it actually hurt to watch this damned thing.

One of the biggest eye-sores for my personally was that this was shot mostly on digital; shot on a specific format that looks too digital too. This movie was shot using the Sony F23, Sony HD 950, and the Sony PMW-EX1 as well as some 35mm film. I'm trained to notice more visual differences so I see it probably more than some of you but I think it looks visually delapidating. Digital has a different visual aesthetic than film does and I think film has the better look. Film would have captured the action and the enviornment of this movie much better than the digital technology they used.

The only film I was looking forward to this summer and it turns out to be a 110% let-down. No amount of Tommy Guns and machine gunfire can save this enemy.
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