Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bye-bye, blackbird

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will. Today marks the final movie in my "Last 5 Round-up". Whether or not these last five are still in theatres (4 are) I figured I would get a little meat on this blogs bones. Today's final film is Public Enemies which I saw 7/11/09. And no I did not go to 7/11 on 7/11 at 7:11. Although that would have been pretty cool.

Public Enemies was Michael Mann's new big film. If you remember, Mann is the man who directed Heat (awesome) Collateral (freaky) and Miami Vice (guilty pleasure). He has always been one of my favorite director/producers and so i make an effort to see all or most of his movies. Public Enemies is based on the true story of 20s-30s gangster and Public Enemy number 1 John Dillenger. John robs banks, rides in fast cars, loves the ladies, and cares about his collegues. He falls in love with a coat attendant Billie and together they travel living the good life. He is loved as a Robin Hood esque hero and the law cant touch him. And when they do, he usually finds a way to escape. In fact that is how the film starts. And while it is a clever and awesome action sequence (Mann has a knack for it) it also introduces the movies largest flaw:


Now I realize maybe it could have been the theatres stereo but even seeing it in a theatre with PERFECT SOUND, the movie is barely above a whisper. The action is loud, the driving is loud, the music is booming, but the dialogue is barely audible. Which is a shame because the writing is witty and clever and well thought out. Luckily towards the end when everyone is shouting like madmen you can hear the movie just fine. But otherwise you're SOL when it comes to the dialogue.

That is honestly the only complaint I have with the movie, period! Its another great epic from a wonderful director. Johnny Depp is remarkable as John and really brings the look, the swagger and the euphanisms of John Dillenger. Its an Oscar worthy performance. Than again I find it hard to see a movie where Johnny Depp doesn't give and Oscar worthy performance. He puts his heart into every role.

Christian Bale on the other hand has the acting abilities of a cardboard box. When he was younger he had a great voice and characterization but ever since he became Batman, he sucks at everything. Granted Batman Begins and the Dark Knight are great (although we only remember Dark Knight cuz of Heath) his other roles are all stinkers. His face moves about as much as Joan Rivers! It twitches every now and again and he can pull the surprised look well (mouth gaped) but otherwise he is completly stoic. And his voice is a trainwreck. Not everyone wants to hear the "I'm Batman and I'm talking like a 90 year old who smoked 2 cartons a day while chewing on sand." That is what I think of when I hear his voice. And that is the voice he always uses. His voice does not sound that naturally.

To his credit however he does good with what he's given. He plays the cop character of Purvis fairly well. He doesn't overact and he doesn't underact. Luckily they didn't give him much to do so that was smart on Mann's part. Maybe a different person should have played Purvis though. Oh well we are too busy watching Johnny Depp anyway to care.

The movie plays at a good length of 2 hours and 10 minutes. Its not slow though and they really do flesh out the story well. This is a really hard review for me to do however because while it was really good, I barely remember it. It didn't have any cinema changing experiences and it didnt add anything to the gangster drama but I guess its worth the price of admission. And popcorn. Lots and lots of popcorn.


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