The true story of Whitey Bulger, the brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston, who became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf.
This is the story of the last few years of the notorious bank robber John Dillinger. He loved what he did and could imagine little else that would make him happier. Living openly in 1930s Chicago, he had the run of the city with little fear of reprisals from the authorities. It's there that he meets Billie Frechette with whom he falls deeply in love. In parallel we meet Melvin Purvis, the FBI agent who would eventually track Dillinger down. The FBI was is in its early days and Director J. Edgar Hoover was keen to promote the clean cut image that so dominated the organization through his lifetime. Purvis realizes that if he is going to get Dillinger, he will have to use street tactics and imports appropriate men with police training. Dillinger is eventually betrayed by an acquaintance who tells the authorities just where to find him on a given night. Written by
"Public Enemies" is inappropriately shot, directed, and edited
"Public Enemies" explores the antics of the 1930's bank robber John Dillinger. Although set during the 1930's Mann chooses to shoot the film in primarily HD and with what appears to be mostly zoom lenses. The fishbowl like hyper-clean HD look and video like color timing of the film is inappropriate and off-putting. Furthermore the choice of the Wide-Angled Zoom lens (used mostly in documentaries) distorts the picture (look for ugly distorted hands in the foreground of the frame when Dillinger dances with his "girl" in the first act of the film) and seems student film like. The picture edit lacks a consistent timing and appears rushed and the sound editorial is full of silent holes for no main stream or art house reason that I can think of. It appears that HD, or the way Mann uses and color times HD in this particular film, was not the way to go for a 1930's gangster film. 35mm or perhaps even Super 16mm with some prime lenses may have worked out better for Mann's "Public Enemies". Fincher's DP in "Benjamin Button" was able to appropriately capture beautiful HD images for him but Mann's camera department seems, quite simply, "off", in this film. Why some critics call "Public Enemies" a work of art is befuddling to me. The direction of the film is poor as well and lacks a consistent style and a poor revelation of information. Mann's "Heat", "Insider" and "Ali" all were more beautifully shot, edited, and directed than "Public Enemies". Even the usually handsome Depp looks old and tired because of the nature of the optics and HD acquisition. Sitting in the theater I saw at least 10 people walk out after about 45 min. into the film and the rest appeared bored and confused. Too bad, I was looking forward to a good gangster movie.
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