“What keeps you up nights Mr. Dillinger?”
Public Enemies is a movie where there I felt there was so much build up to something really good but instead I was left feeling let down. The stories of John Dillinger and the 1930s era of the gangsters are very interesting but that was all left out of Public Enemies in this case. The whole story with John Dillinger was how he robbed banks. There were maybe three or four scenes of bank robberies and they were only shown for about a minute a piece if that long.
The parts of the movie I really liked were seeing Marion Cotillard as Billie Frechette and Johnny Depp as John Dillinger together. They were so good together; they are both such good actors. You actually believe the chemistry John and Billie had. Cotillard is one of the best actresses of the last few years. I have seen her in other films, you can tell that she enjoys being an actress and cares about acting. Johnny Depp is obviously a very versatile actor. This is the kind of role I like to see him when he is serious and being a real person not some crazy pirate or whatnot. He played Dillinger with a coolness and a toughness but underneath had a deep caring for those around him.
What was really interesting to me is how we know Dillinger was a bad guy but we wanted to see him evade the law and run away and be with Billie we did not want to see him get caught we rooted for him. It is like Norman Bates in Psycho we do not want him to be found out by the police that he killed Marion, we get nervous with him when he sinks the car and it does not go down all the way. With Public Enemies we are rooting for the bad guys we sympathize with them we want them to get away and get anxious when the police close in. I wish more movies today would play on our emotions, it can be tough on our nerves when all you want sometimes is to just enjoy a movie but I know a movie is good when I am left with some kind of emotion at the end and during it.
I have to give much praise to Christian Bale and Billy Crudup for their roles of Melvyn Pervis and J. Edgar Hoover. Bale was excellent this is one role I where I could take him for more than five minutes. Crudup did not really have a lot of scenes but I felt he was powerful and forceful as Hoover was supposed to be.
I loved seeing the end when Dillinger goes to see Manhattan Melodrama. I have seen Manhattan Melodrama and liked it. Well hey, if you follow this blog or look at my older post you can see I have a great love for any Myrna Loy and William Powell film. I thought it was interesting that Dillinger’s last few hours were spent seeing a gangster picture which in the movie was shown to reflect his life in some ways. I thought it was sad how Dillinger was upset about Billie getting arrested and on the screen some of Myrna Loy’s scenes were shown to reflect how he missed Billie (or maybe it was part of the myth that Dillinger was a Myrna Loy fan?). Loy absolutely hated that MGM was using the fact that Manhattan Melodrama was the last film Dillinger saw and using it for publicity. Well there is no such thing as bad publicity and that even held true over seventy years ago.
Public Enemies is a good movie. It is slow but the acting by, not just the main actors but the supporting cast as well makes the movie worth seeing at least once. The story was not adventurous it was dramatic which I guess added to the dullness. Sit through Public Enemies once it is worth a viewing.