Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Public Enemies (2009)

I recently got to see this in the Dreamworks theater with my friends Shane and Frankie (thanks, Shane!). It was a movie Shane and I had been really looking forward to since they first announced it.

Unfortunately, it was a let-down. The easiest way to critique it is to call it a weak version of Heat (one of my favorites, by the way). Heat gave you a fascinating look at the lives of the two leads, making them real and sympathetic characters. Public Enemies was really lacking in that department. I didn't connect with Dillinger or Purvis, or anyone else. I don't think it's the fault of the actors. The script was either lacking from the beginning or hacked during production.

Despite the lack of emotional connection, there are a few good things to be said about the movie. For one, Mann once again did not disappoint in the action and sound-design department (see also Collateral and Heat; Miami Vice also qualifies, but it's a terrible movie). The shootouts are loud; they look, sound, and feel very realistic. Furthermore, despite some shaky-cam hand-held work (die, trend, die!) and the occasional obviously digital picture quality that made you miss film grain, there were some beautiful compositions. The opening in particular has a great location that makes for some cool looking minimalist framing. Costuming and locations, of course, were all good. It was funny seeing the British actor who played Tommy in Snatch as Baby Face Nelson. And Faramir as a nameless henchman who must have been offed at some point.

To sum up: disappointing. Worth it if you have a good sound system for the action scenes.


_Shane said...

Agreed... and you're welcome!

DDHA said...

OK, first up: yes. I completely agree with you about Public Enemies.

I'd been really looking forward to it since having seen a really slick, stylish, dark & sexy little trailer a couple of months ago with tommy guns and cool hats and shit.

Then I the film itself dragged. And the plot, true or not, didn't really go anywhere -loads of narrow escapes, some cool gunshot effects and then it's over and everyone's going home a bit disappointed.

I actually came here, however to tell you I agree with your sentiments about Cake in concert.(http://brendoman.com/wendytime/2009/08/28/cake-at-the-pomona-fox-8-28-9)
Well said sir.

You want a lecture, go to University. You want a sermon, go to church. You want silly, bubblegum pop rock, go see a band like Cake.

Ryan said...

Thanks for your comments, D.

I read your Cake post. Interesting stuff. It's kind of odd: it sounds like the Cake frontman (Joel? John? I forget) preaches a mix of greenie-liberal and then morally conservative messages. Do push-ups and plant a tree; don't smoke marijuana for your kids' sake. Bush is the devil; alcohol should be banned.

I was also intrigued by your experience with the Christian "commune." I'm a traditional conservative Christian, but I've never come across such a group. While a bit strange to me, they didn't sound brainwashed. Ha, they actually just sounded like MKs (missionary kids), who can sometimes come off a bit quirky to those born and raised in the states. I went a small private Christian university, and some of the MKs were really easy to point out. One guy went barefoot everywhere, and used a unicycle as his primary transportation. Nothing wrong with it, but you certainly thought, "That guy has probably had a slightly different upbringing from me."

frak said...

I watched Heat yesterday, and you guys were right, it was really good and much better than this. This one was too one sided.

Ryan said...

Cool, glad you liked it, Frankie!