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DVD Reviews

View Full Version : Public Enemies (Mann, 2009) — The Reviews Thread


OldBoy
06-27-09, 11:51 AM
Please continue pre-hype discussion in this thread: http://forum.dvdtalk.com/movie-talk/522312-public-enemies-michael-mann-2009-depp-bale-6.html

Movie:
"Public Enemies” (2009) (Starring: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, Billy Crudup)

Release Date:
7/01/2009

Rating:
R (for gangster violence and some language)

Running Time:
143 min. (2h. 23m.)

Rotten Tomatoes Reviews:
Fresh:133 Rotten:72 (65% as of 7/14/09)
RT Link... (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/10009526-public_enemies/)

Info:
IMDb Link... (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1152836/)

Trailer:
<object width="512" height="296"><param name="movie" value="http://www.hulu.com/embed/bNSOjawJKB3tn459qib1nQ"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed src="http://www.hulu.com/embed/bNSOjawJKB3tn459qib1nQ" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowFullScreen="true" width="512" height="296"></embed></object>

Poster Art:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v648/scott1598/Movie%20Posters/public-enemies-poster-0.jpg

OldBoy
06-27-09, 11:54 AM
this is my 2nd most anticipated since "Star Trek" for the summer. next after is "Inglorious Basterds".

since reviews are coming in and there are Tuesday (6/30) night showings.

taken from the other thread:

A bit from the Empire review, and others:

Whatever James Cameron’s Avatar may resemble in cinema’s ‘big shake-up’ later this year, this less self-aggrandising film, shot entirely on an ultra-high resolution digital format, marks a new cinematic language. The genre may seem familiar, that rat-a-tat-tat of Tommy guns, molls and dapper hoods, but never with this level of immersion. If Mann’s mission was simply to portray the early ’30s with pin-sharp realism, he has triumphed. This is not a film about the ’30s — it is a film in the ’30s…

Mann may squirm, but the Heat-in-the-Depression tag is inevitable. The comparisons are numerous: cascading storylines, languid cityscapes, architectural framing and that rigorous unpicking of male psychology (cops and robbers are all deep-down misunderstood).

Yet, more than just their eras, the two films feel like different worlds. Such is the docu-clarity of this digital skin, you have to readjust your thinking. This isn’t the glamour of the movies, warmly draped in celluloid, but rather an instantaneous, ‘stunning’ reality: every facial pore, every herringbone stitch, every silvery wisp from a smoking gun comes crystal-clear. Strangely, it makes the film both period and contemporary: history through a sci-fi lens…

Mann’s movie lies at a cusp between great American genres: the dusty borderland between the Western and gangster movie.


From Variety:

“Public Enemies” emerges as a formidable tapestry documenting the indelible seismic shifts of large criminal and law enforcement entities that significantly define an era. As before in Mann’s work, there is a magisterial inevitability to the way the opposing forces gradually converge until violent confrontation is inevitable, a style that justifies the time and attention to detail involved in creating it.

More enthusiasm from Emmanuel Levy:

Structurally, big action scenes of glorious escape from prison and shoot-outs are integrated into the dramatic proceedings. Occasionally, the narrative slows down, in the romantic scenes between Dillinger and Billie, but Mann is a shrewd entertainer who knows when to switch from dialogue-driven sequences to thrilling set-pieces, which the HD cameras of ace cinematographer Dante Spinotti captures in alluring ways. A couple of scenes are simply breathtaking in their visual pizzazz, conveying through dark screens that suddenly erupt into spots of glaring white light both the movement and effect of gunshots…

In its painstaking attention to detail, “Public Enemies” recalls “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” made by another brilliant and perfectionist director, David Fincher. We get a feel of how things looked, but how people thought, how men courted women, what ex-convicts thought about life, fate, and death.

And the most unrestrained rave so far comes from Rex Reed:

Thrilling, glamorous, richly textured and breathlessly action-packed, it is one of the best movies of the year.

It’s all here, exhaustively researched and painstakingly re-created. Curiously, there’s no mention of Dillinger’s wife, Beryl, and Michael Mann’s screenplay, co-written with Ronan Bennett and Ann Biderman, takes liberties by condensing some events and combining a few characters, but with so many informers, gunmen and tertiary historic plot contributors, it’s amazing that so few key elements found their way into the discard pile. From Billy Crudup, as the silly, publicity-seeking J. Edgar Hoover, to Johnny Depp’s magnetic starring role, replete with neatly cropped hair, piercing dark eyes, no sign of a tattoo and a lewd smile in the corner of his eyes, every role large and small is polished to perfection. (Johnny Depp gives the best performance of his career.) Even the bank plunders in broad daylight seem freshly staged. Since it’s more in the biographical vein of Bugsy than the grand opera of The Godfather, no easy comparisons come instantly to mind. But with the shiny cars with white-wall tires; the tailored, double-breasted pinstriped suits that give you an idea where Giorgio Armani’s fashion inspiration comes from; the music (lots of early Billie Holiday and big band jazz); and the navy blue midnight world of the Great Depression—Mr. Mann does more to illustrate the fabric of the gangster era than any film since Pete Kelly’s Blues.

In the process, Public Enemies becomes one glamorous, glorious, gun-blazing whale of an entertainment.

I decided to present some more review bits mainly because the post above quotes a bit from an overall NEGATIVE review (I liked the film more than these reviewers did, but they illustrate some of the problems I had with it...and sometimes very high expectations can cause disappointment. I recommend the film, just keep your expectations in check and you will enjoy it).

AP review :

"The director of "Heat" and "The Insider" has said he was fascinated by Dillinger not just as a daring criminal but as the hero he became for regular people, folks who blamed the banks for their financial troubles during the Depression. Dillinger robbed those very institutions, which felt to them like an act of vigilante justice.

But nowhere in "Public Enemies" will you find that sentiment explored or even hinted at in a cursory way. Dillinger is famous here, of course — he's Public Enemy No. 1, hence the title — but there's little sense of his public perception, not much context for his notoriety. Mann also doesn't really depict the poverty or desperation of the time; Dillinger usually spends time in cars, banks and glamorous haunts with slick cohorts. He's more like a charming guy committing questionable acts.

Mann romanticizes him, rather than presenting a complete picture including whatever wildness or darkness might have existed inside him and driven him. (He co-wrote the script with Ronan Bennett and Ann Biderman, based on journalist Bryan Burrough's book.)"

From Variety:

"Overall impact is muted. Oddly, too, the film is somewhat shortchanged by its great star, Johnny Depp, who disappointingly has chosen to play Dillinger as self-consciously cool rather than earthy and gregarious.

"Mann's decision to shoot in HD rather than film again has its plusses and minuses; the detail and depth of field are phenomenal in the dark scenes, but the bright flaring, occasional unnatural movements and excessive detailing of skin flaws remain annoying, as does the insubstantiality of the images compared to those created on film. Digital may represent the future, but the future is not entirely here yet, and the pictorial qualities of Mann's films prior to "Collateral" remain decisively superior to the recent trio."

From Box Office:

"Dillinger was a charming psychopath who killed easily and liked risk. He reveled in his notoriety and even played to it where he could, something Public Enemies flirts with as required but ultimately never does more than display."

Sessa17
06-27-09, 07:04 PM
If this movie gets raving reviews, I may go see it, but everything I've seen so far, gives me very little interest in this, even more so after re-watching the paint-by-the-numbers trailer. This just looks so trite, much like Ridley's upcoming Robin Hood movie, this is just a story that has been done so many times & better. I know it's mandatory to drool over anything Depp & Bale do (especially here) but I can't stand Depp playing Dillinger as this uber-suave pretty boy, it's like it's more important to get all the Depp fanboys to go & see this movie, then actually bring a worthwhile portrayal to life & Bale more & more, & I know this is blasphemy just keeps getting increasingly dull & redundant.

islandclaws
06-27-09, 08:18 PM
^ I agree 100% with this, and the fact that I just don't agree with Mann's choice of shooting this on HD. Bad move for a period piece, IMO.

mdc3000
06-28-09, 12:50 PM
^That is the only thing so far that I'm not excited about - you can tell it's HD video by watching the trailer and that look does not fit the period of the film...but I still have high hopes.

Solid Snake
06-28-09, 05:20 PM
As a film I hope it's good, as to the method of shooting it..I dunno. Recently saw a trailer of it on TV at work. Looks like they cleaned up some of those shots to not have a HD cam feel. Was nice to see a steady movement of the characters instead of that shadowing/trailing effect HD cams give.

hardercore
06-28-09, 06:46 PM
The book got stunning reviews, but i've heard mixed things about the film. At the end of the day, though, this is the man who directed The Insider and is capable, if nothing else, of producing solid works of entertainment (Collateral) so I'll definitely give it a shot.

Ash Ketchum
06-29-09, 10:46 AM
I saw this at a preview the other night and I'm about halfway through the book. I tend to be a stickler about historical accuracy, so things bothered me that might not bother the rest of you. But just on a dramatic level, the whole Dillinger-Billie Frechette romance is played out in a series of really badly-written cliched scenes. And there's too much time spent on it. It really slows the film down. And the French actress who plays Billie is just profoundly uninteresting. You ask yourself what Dillinger saw in her. Besides, Billie grew up with her American Indian mother and not her French father, so she wouldn't have had a French accent.

Also, I was hoping Depp would really nail Dillinger's character, clearly the most fascinating of the Depression-era bandits and the only one who wasn't an outright sociopath (like Clyde Barrow) or psychopath (like Baby Face Nelson). If you see newsreels of Dillinger, you understand why he became a folk hero in his time. You don't really see that here. Depp is somehow lacking Dillinger's charm. And he could have played it that way. I think it's a case of bad direction.

I didn't like Bale's performance, either. He's never believable to me. That accent sounds awfully forced.

The supporting cast has a lot of good people in it, though: Stephen Lang, Giovanni Ribisi, LeeLee Sobieski, James Russo, Stephen Dorff, Lili Taylor, John Ortiz, and a few others.

There are a few good scenes, though, especially the raid on the Little Bohemia lodge. Very well-shot and edited. If you're a film student, you might want to see the film just for this sequence. It's brilliant. And the scene where Dillinger visits the Dillinger Squad office at the Chicago P.D.--a bit of a stretch, and only lightly alluded to in the book, but still a clever scene. The finale is very good, too. And I like all the Frank Nitti/Chicago mob scenes. An interesting touch I've never seen in a Dillinger film before.

I think there'd be a much better film here if they cut out some of the slower scenes, esp. the ones with Billie Frechette, and made it a much shorter movie. It's way too long.

I won't rule out seeing this again, though.

Jaymole
06-29-09, 11:15 AM
And the scene where Dillinger visits the Dillinger Squad office at the Chicago P.D.--a bit of a stretch, and only lightly alluded to in the book, but still a clever scene.

I completely disagree, this scene was by far the worst of the film...a total Hollywood cliched contrivance just to show how cool Depp/Dillinger is.."hey look at me, I can walk into the Dillinger squad room and talk to the guys but nobody will recognize me because i'm wearing shades...I'm so cool!!!"... I literally groaned out loud during the film when this scene played out.

There are a few good scenes, though, especially the raid on the Little Bohemia lodge. Very well-shot and edited. If you're a film student, you might want to see the film just for this sequence. It's brilliant.

I agree with you....a great scene, (except for the use of video), and the highpoint of the film for me.

Ash Ketchum
06-29-09, 11:51 AM
I completely disagree, this scene was by far the worst of the film...a total Hollywood cliched contrivance just to show how cool Depp/Dillinger is.."hey look at me, I can walk into the Dillinger squad room and talk to the guys but nobody will recognize me because i'm wearing shades...I'm so cool!!!"... I literally groaned out loud during the film when this scene played out.



I hear what you're saying and, yeah, it's doubtful the cops wouldn't have looked twice at him. But, according to the book, he apparently did this (although the book doesn't go into detail on it), and I liked the way the scene explored the moment, showing us the vastness of the room, seemingly empty when he walks into it, and the details of it and having Dillinger slowly look at the stuff on the walls and go over the pictures of the men who died. There was a nice feel to it. I would have preferred he was dressed more appropriately--period-wise, in jacket and tie and with a hat on, not in a casual sport shirt--and that the cops weren't in the room when he was there.

I differ with you, though, on the use of video in the Little Bohemia scene. I'm not normally inclined to support the use of hi-def, but I thought it took us into the scene and gave it a real immediacy and sense of being there in this remote location at night in the cold. And the gunfire was amazing. I've never seen it captured that way before.

Jaymole
06-29-09, 02:46 PM
But, according to the book, he apparently did this (although the book doesn't go into detail on it),

I was going to ask if the writer had any proof that he did this, but how could he unless one of the police officers actually admitted to it happening? I would be interested in what he wrote in the book about this as it seems way too far-fetched to be true...I remember that when I was watching the scene I really thought it was going to be a dream sequence.

As to your comment on HD, I know it is completely subjective so I can understand both people who like it and don't.

Ash Ketchum
06-29-09, 04:02 PM
I was going to ask if the writer had any proof that he did this, but how could he unless one of the police officers actually admitted to it happening? I would be interested in what he wrote in the book about this as it seems way too far-fetched to be true...I remember that when I was watching the scene I really thought it was going to be a dream sequence.


Here's the mention I found of it, on p. 393, in the book:

"Much later, the Chicago Daily News would report he felt safe enough to visit Chicago's detective bureau four separate times. [Polly] Hamilton was applying for a new waitressing job, and her prospective employer required she obtain a medical certification. The medical examiner was in the same building as the detective bureau; four times Dillilnger waited for Hamilton outside the examiner's thirteenth-floor office, while two floors below, the Chicago police busied themselves looking for him."

No footnotes for this, and not exactly incontrovertible proof that he ever actually entered the bureau office. A little artistic license, I daresay.

Jaymole
06-29-09, 05:39 PM
Thanks Ash...Mann definitely went overboard on the artistic license and, IMO, a very poor decision to use it in this case.

Doctor Gonzo
06-29-09, 06:48 PM
David Denby's New Yorker review:

Michael Mann’s “Public Enemies” is a ravishing dream of violent gangster life in the thirties—not a tough, funny, and, finally, tragic dream like “Bonnie and Clyde” but a flowing, velvety fantasia of the crime wave that mesmerized the nation early in the decade… It’s the American poetry of crime. Throughout the movie, blazing tommy guns emit little spearheads of flame, just as in a comic book. Men get their skulls bashed with gun butts, and get thrown out of cars, but, despite all the violence, the movie is aesthetically shaped and slightly distanced by the pictorial verve of gangland effrontery—the public aggression that Mann makes inseparable from high style… As a piece of direction, “Public Enemies” is often breathtakingly fast, but it’s always lucid.

The high-definition digital images are crisply focussed, and much of the movie (in contrast to the usual shock-and-awe thunder of action films) is on the quiet side. Billie Holiday’s plaintive tones show up on the soundtrack, a touch of melancholy high civilization amid the mayhem. Some of the dialogue is spoken sotto voce—in a darkened restaurant, say, or the back of a car, where suave hoods lean toward each other, exchanging confidences. Like Barry Levinson’s “Bugsy,” the picture happily exploits what movies can do to create a sinful nexus between criminality and elegance… There’s almost an unspoken compact between director and audience in a movie like this, a compact of pleasure in everything looking so good. Twenty-five years ago, in “Miami Vice,” Michael Mann brought visual glamour to television; he’s still an incomparable maker of svelte, flawlessly integrated images.

Solid Snake
06-29-09, 06:55 PM
Question: Does the big gunfight here top or at least at the same level as the one in Heat?

My Other Self
06-29-09, 07:40 PM
I'm looking forward to it. Gangster film, Johnny Depp, Bale, and Mann equals my ass in a seat. I've liked all of Mann's work (even Miami Vice), so I'm truly pumped for this. My next movie after this isn't until Inglorious Basterds. July is a shitty month.

Jaymole
06-29-09, 07:43 PM
David Denby's New Yorker review:

Michael Mann’s “Public Enemies” is a ravishing dream of violent gangster life in the thirties—not a tough, funny, and, finally, tragic dream like “Bonnie and Clyde” but a flowing, velvety fantasia of the crime wave that mesmerized the nation early in the decade… It’s the American poetry of crime. Throughout the movie, blazing tommy guns emit little spearheads of flame, just as in a comic book. Men get their skulls bashed with gun butts, and get thrown out of cars, but, despite all the violence, the movie is aesthetically shaped and slightly distanced by the pictorial verve of gangland effrontery—the public aggression that Mann makes inseparable from high style… As a piece of direction, “Public Enemies” is often breathtakingly fast, but it’s always lucid.

The high-definition digital images are crisply focussed, and much of the movie (in contrast to the usual shock-and-awe thunder of action films) is on the quiet side. Billie Holiday’s plaintive tones show up on the soundtrack, a touch of melancholy high civilization amid the mayhem. Some of the dialogue is spoken sotto voce—in a darkened restaurant, say, or the back of a car, where suave hoods lean toward each other, exchanging confidences. Like Barry Levinson’s “Bugsy,” the picture happily exploits what movies can do to create a sinful nexus between criminality and elegance… There’s almost an unspoken compact between director and audience in a movie like this, a compact of pleasure in everything looking so good. Twenty-five years ago, in “Miami Vice,” Michael Mann brought visual glamour to television; he’s still an incomparable maker of svelte, flawlessly integrated images.

Since Doctor Gonzo has AGAIN taken the positives from a review that was given a NEGATIVE overall at Rotten Tomatoes, here is some more of the review:

"There’s something missing—a sense of urgency and discovery, a more complicated narrative path, a shrewder, tougher sense of who John Dillinger is...Dillinger’s popularity is only hinted at in a couple of scenes, and Mann, as he did in “Heat,” divides his admiration evenly between criminals and cops. Both are risking everything. The movie is structured around repeated scenes of wounded men (agents as well as criminals) dying as they look into the eyes of their friends. Yet some of the dying men are barely known to us, and the device, though beautifully staged in each case, doesn’t have the power it should have had. The movie is emotionally neutered."

RocShemp
06-29-09, 08:32 PM
I hate comments like "the detail and depth of field are phenomenal in the dark scenes, but the bright flaring, occasional unnatural movements and excessive detailing of skin flaws remain annoying" when it comes to digital video. Film, if correctly focused, is just as detailed. Why do people think video magically shows detail that film does not?

OldBoy
06-29-09, 10:49 PM
Since Doctor Gonzo has AGAIN taken the positives from a review that was given a NEGATIVE overall at Rotten Tomatoes, here is some more of the review:

"There’s something missing—a sense of urgency and discovery, a more complicated narrative path, a shrewder, tougher sense of who John Dillinger is...Dillinger’s popularity is only hinted at in a couple of scenes, and Mann, as he did in “Heat,” divides his admiration evenly between criminals and cops. Both are risking everything. The movie is structured around repeated scenes of wounded men (agents as well as criminals) dying as they look into the eyes of their friends. Yet some of the dying men are barely known to us, and the device, though beautifully staged in each case, doesn’t have the power it should have had. The movie is emotionally neutered."

what is Gonzo's point for taking out the rest of the review? seems silly and stupid.

Jaymole
06-30-09, 11:15 AM
I believe the film will get mostly positive reviews and even the negative ones won't be too harsh. On the other hand, I don't expect it to receive a lot of glowing reviews like Rex Reed's either. The film is a solid 3 star entertaining film but it could/should have been much more.

OldBoy
06-30-09, 12:42 PM
will see this tomorrow and looking forward to it.

badlieut
06-30-09, 03:38 PM
Ebert's review 3 1/2 stars.

http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090629/REVIEWS/906299997

FuQ
06-30-09, 07:50 PM
I completely disagree, this scene was by far the worst of the film...a total Hollywood cliched contrivance just to show how cool Depp/Dillinger is.."hey look at me, I can walk into the Dillinger squad room and talk to the guys but nobody will recognize me because i'm wearing shades...I'm so cool!!!"... I literally groaned out loud during the film when this scene played out.



I agree with you....a great scene, (except for the use of video), and the highpoint of the film for me.

Dillinger actually did this, sorry you didn't like the scene but it is historically accurate.

Dr Mabuse
06-30-09, 08:09 PM
Ebert's review 3 1/2 stars.

http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090629/REVIEWS/906299997

Exactly what I thought and expected.

I'm stoked.

Dr. Mantle
06-30-09, 09:41 PM
Question: Does the big gunfight here top or at least at the same level as the one in Heat?

Nothing will ever top the gunfight in Heat, so the answer is no. -wink-

matrixrok9
06-30-09, 10:09 PM
Nothing will ever top the gunfight in Heat, so the answer is no. -wink-

How would you rate the gun battles compared to other Mann flicks?

Supermallet
06-30-09, 10:15 PM
I hate comments like "the detail and depth of field are phenomenal in the dark scenes, but the bright flaring, occasional unnatural movements and excessive detailing of skin flaws remain annoying" when it comes to digital video. Film, if correctly focused, is just as detailed. Why do people think video magically shows detail that film does not?

It's not a question of more or less detail, it's how the detail is presented. Film uses a chemical process for developing, which gives the images a more organic feel. Video is much more sharp, not more detailed, and this makes small things jump out at you more because of their contrast, not because you can see more fine details.

candyrocket786
06-30-09, 10:36 PM
Question: Does the big gunfight here top or at least at the same level as the one in Heat?

What about the shoot out at Club Fever? Anything in this film top that? :D

tucker
07-01-09, 12:54 AM
Nothing will ever top the gunfight in Heat, so the answer is no. -wink-

what about the opening bank robbery scene of the dark knight?

gongon78
07-01-09, 12:55 AM
What about the shoot out at Club Fever? Anything in this film top that? :D

The gun fight in Heat was one of the all time BEST. The gun fights in this movie are completely different, and in no way should it be compared to Heat.

Solid Snake
07-01-09, 12:57 AM
Is it more badass or not? I'm not talking about is it a bigger louder or whatever..is it "cooler"? I know any and all gun fights have to compare to Heat but as comparison...how good are the gun fights?

gongon78
07-01-09, 01:07 AM
Is it more badass or not? I'm not talking about is it a bigger louder or whatever..is it "cooler"? I know any and all gun fights have to compare to Heat but as comparison...how good are the gun fights?

See...I don't want to accidentally spoil the movie for anyone who is planning to see it this weekend.

It's 'different', and no way should it be compared to Heat. The gun fight in Heat is the ultimate BADASS. If I had to rate Heat's gun battle between a 1 - 10, I'd give a 11.

The gun battle in Public Enemy is good, but I just can't compare it to Heat because I can't give a 11. I'd say it's more of 7-9, just because it's completely different.

Dean Kousoulas
07-01-09, 02:08 AM
Just came back from the midnight showing. Maybe I will collect my thoughts better once I sleep on it, but I was very disapointed. Michael Mann was of course on top of his game, and Depp/Bale & the rest of the cast delivered, but I was so let down by the script. I don't understand how you can take a character as interesting as Dillinger, and spend 2 and a half hours without any substance to it. The whole time I was watching I kept asking myself, "Why should I care about any of these characters?" The New Yorker review was right, the movie was emotionally neutered.

There was no backstory. Historical figures from the era came and went without telling us why they are so important. The only real emotion I got was seeing Dillinger react to the gangster movie at the theater, and during Dillinger's death when he stared down his would be killer and frightened him enough to back off

Solid Snake
07-01-09, 02:11 AM
See...I don't want to accidentally spoil the movie for anyone who is planning to see it this weekend.

It's 'different', and no way should it be compared to Heat. The gun fight in Heat is the ultimate BADASS. If I had to rate Heat's gun battle between a 1 - 10, I'd give a 11.

The gun battle in Public Enemy is good, but I just can't compare it to Heat because I can't give a 11. I'd say it's more of 7-9, just because it's completely different.

Well you have me sold. I can't wait...obviously it'd be a different beast considering what era it's in. I was going to see it tomorrow after class anyway...just wanted more details about the gun fight. So I'll come back and report my findings.

Jaymole
07-01-09, 06:58 AM
I am hoping this performs really well at the B.O. We need more R Rated, Adult oriented films coming out in the summer.

Mr. Cinema
07-01-09, 08:15 AM
Currently 56% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Jaymole
07-01-09, 09:03 AM
Currently 56% on Rotten Tomatoes.


Looking at all those reviews, Doctor Gonzo adds it up to be 100%:D

slop101
07-01-09, 09:54 AM
Maybe I will collect my thoughts better once I sleep on it, but I was very disapointed. I have to agree with this. While I didn't hate the movie or anything, I felt really disconnected from it (even more than the typical Mann flick), as the movie had absolutely no heart and didn't mean anything to me. I'd say it was maybe a smidge better than Miami Vice.

arminius
07-01-09, 11:24 AM
I have to agree with this. While I didn't hate the movie or anything, I felt really disconnected from it (even more than the typical Mann flick), as the movie had absolutely no heart and didn't mean anything to me. I'd say it was maybe a smidge better than Miami Vice.

I still want to see it but this sounds really disappointing to me. JD was the most sympathetic of the outlaws in those days. He was not a violent killer and probably was the most "Robin Hood" ideal of the bunch.

mdc3000
07-01-09, 02:35 PM
Hugely fucking disappointed. I usually like Mann's work because it's technically proficient while still having enough character and plot to pull you into the world and immerse you. He is typically a master at creating tension and keeping us involved... I enjoyed Miami Vice despite finding it a little cold, muddled and slightly uninvolving, but there was enough there to keep me interested... With Public Enemies there was literally only 40 minutes where I was anything but bored.

Having two of the best actors in the business (Depp and Bale) in a film that should be a cat and mouse thriller, would seem like a great recipe for success but we're NEVER given any insight into either man. I know nothing more about John Dillinger walking out than I did walking in, and I didn't know very much except the broad strokes. Purvis sounds like an interesting man, especially with the note at the end that he took his own life, but there is nothing in the film to get me involved. Things in this movie just seemed to HAPPEN. I was watching a bank robbery, but wasn't excited/thrilled/worried etc. about it - I was just sort of watching stuff happen that I had no emotional involvement in... we don't care about any of the characters so there are NO STAKES. None of the actions carry any weight.

I liked Depp and Bale but they needed more to do. The storyline with Cotillard lacked any spark to make me believe that these two people loved each other - so I didn't really care about their scenes together because I just wasn't feeling it... the movie feels hollow.

There are about 40 minutes that I thought really worked: Dillinger's escape, the forest gunfight, the finale etc. but having 100 minutes worth of padding didn't do the movie any favours. I don't know how Mann can take a story that sounds mundane like THE INSIDER and make a crackling, compelling thriller, but then takes something that is as exciting and sexy as robbing banks and makes it seem like paint drying. 2 out of 5.

Solid Snake
07-01-09, 03:41 PM
Just saw it. I liked it. It's not great..it's just..middleground average..but shot very well which ups the quality. I LOVED the Bohemian shoot out scene..that was cool. It wasn't better than Heat but like someone else said it's enjoyably different which is good. I felt no connection to the two leads..though well acted. The closest we come to getting some meat on Purvis is actually in his Intro to the film. Who he is in that scene is essentially what he is throughout the film. But...that's all we get and it's not a lot. We get more Dillinger for sure..which is nice..but still not enough for us to hold on to.

That scene at the Chicago office..was odd. It wasn't necessary, felt like it was trying to get the audience to really enjoy what Dillinger was and his chivalry nature. The gun fights are nice for sure. I liked it for what it was. The film edits or whatever paces the film strange. It seems like you can take out any scene and put it somewhere else and it'd fit fine there for the most part. It's sense of linear storytelling is broken by the editing or the actual elements used in the scene. There's no strong unity in them.

THE HD element is something I'm still wondering about. The camera focuses on character while the environment is blurred around as he moves...I don't know if that's just the way HD does it or not but...it seemed to work well. The detail from the HD really works on still scenes but...in high speed motion actions it's a hit or miss. The Bohemian shoot out shows this. There are some shots that benefit from it but others that just fall flat. Also...the gunfire in the night is very well illuminated. Mann really really knows how to shoot gunfire. If anything...watch the film for the shoot outs, very well shot and played out.

Regardless...I liked the film. It was good. Not Heat good but...good. I can give it a B..maybe a B+ for the sake of it being a well shot film.

OldBoy
07-01-09, 04:32 PM
Review:
it was good. not nearly as good as i was hoping though. 3/5

the first hour was pretty ho hum and forgettable. the last hour or so it got better. there were flashes of brilliance and some scenes that worked so well, like when Dillinger went into the Chicago police station.

the romance between him and Cotillard was not done up well, though she was the perfect 30's style chick. it just came across as flat.

most of the movie was merely good. there was nothing great or particularly done well. again some scenes, but the characters were not fleshed out at all, including Dillinger.

there was no scheming, not a lot of thrills and really no suspense. i wanted more caper and less everything else.

Stand-outs:
i thought the standout performances were Jason Clarke as "Red" and Stephen Graham as "Baby Face Nelson". Clarke was the perfect and more heart wrenching second banana to Depp's Dillinger and for what he was in he just had this presence on the screen. Graham was over-the-top and i think that played perfectly for this character.

the rest: Bale, Depp, Crudup, Cotillard just seem to dial it in and nothing was particularly awe striking and that was disappointing. i expect more from Bale and especially Depp and there was much of anything. which isn't to say they were bad performances, just nothing too great.

Wrap-up:
again, there was a lot to like, but a lot really fell flat and that is the one, disheartening word i use to describe most of the movie.

also, i think we got rooked in the sound dept. as the theater (usually a good, reliable theater too) seemed to have only 2.0 where it was very low and seemed front loaded. i think they didn't hit the volume or the surround sound switch :(

OldBoy
07-01-09, 04:41 PM
just read this review...
For people who loved Heat, this is a tour de force.
Cammila Albertson
TV Guide's Movie Guide

and in no way should this be compared to "Heat" and in no way does it come close to the cinematic beauty that it was.

MBoyd
07-01-09, 05:15 PM
First off, I have never seen a Michael Mann film I liked. I did go in with high expectations because of the cast. Depp was stellar. The gunshots were probably some of the loudest and most powerful I ever heard in the theater.

I rated it two stars. It was a borefest for me. I was checking the time. Not only that, it's just an ugly film. It looked like television to me. The HD video transfer to film looked smeary in a lot of it. Bad cinematography choice. And that's what sticks out most in my mind and why I rated it as low as I did.

chris_sc77
07-01-09, 06:07 PM
I liked it a lot.
4 stars out of 5.
The 2nd half was better than the first half though thats for sure.
It also had quite a few problems. The digital looked bad at many times during manily the first half it seems. That or i just got used to t after a while. Some of the actors appeared blurry almost and out of focus. Other times it looked like a shot out of a videogame.
But there were also times it looked quite good also.
The action scenes were mostly very good. The shootout at night in the woods being the highlight of the film for me.

Mr.Briggs
07-01-09, 06:12 PM
Glad I saw it in the theater because I might have blind bought it on dvd otherwise. It was mildly entertainng but not a movie I'd care to see again.

FantasticVSDoom
07-01-09, 07:06 PM
I agree with Ebert's review... Its a very good, not great film. Shootout was great, and I liked the end. It was hard to pick up the dialogue at the beginning of the film, which Im starting to get used to for Mann's films.

Solid Snake
07-01-09, 07:43 PM
Also...I love that song that he plays in several sections of the film. And was predominantly used in the trailers for it. Really gets the blood pumping.

OldBoy
07-01-09, 09:35 PM
Also...I love that song that he plays in several sections of the film. And was predominantly used in the trailers for it. Really gets the blood pumping.

"Ten Million Slaves" ...Otis Taylor

i dl'd as soon as i saw the trailer :up: :up:

i did think that once was enough and the rest played it out a bit.

Solid Snake
07-01-09, 09:36 PM
Yeah..I've been listening to it nonstop since I came from the theater. Very engrossing.

OldBoy
07-01-09, 09:48 PM
Yeah..I've been listening to it nonstop since I came from the theater. Very engrossing.

power of the banjo!

cranberries fan
07-01-09, 10:35 PM
Well I am the first to give this wonderful period film 5 stars I loved it from start to finish.

Amazing cast of fine actors and great (Billie Hoilday-LadyDay).

bunkaroo
07-01-09, 11:00 PM
Just saw this. Pretty underwhelmed. Can't think of much I really liked. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't electric I expect from Mann. No chemistry between Depp and Coutilliard.

2.5/5.

Dean Kousoulas
07-01-09, 11:14 PM
Hugely fucking disappointed. I usually like Mann's work because it's technically proficient while still having enough character and plot to pull you into the world and immerse you. He is typically a master at creating tension and keeping us involved... I enjoyed Miami Vice despite finding it a little cold, muddled and slightly uninvolving, but there was enough there to keep me interested... With Public Enemies there was literally only 40 minutes where I was anything but bored.

Having two of the best actors in the business (Depp and Bale) in a film that should be a cat and mouse thriller, would seem like a great recipe for success but we're NEVER given any insight into either man. I know nothing more about John Dillinger walking out than I did walking in, and I didn't know very much except the broad strokes. Purvis sounds like an interesting man, especially with the note at the end that he took his own life, but there is nothing in the film to get me involved. Things in this movie just seemed to HAPPEN. I was watching a bank robbery, but wasn't excited/thrilled/worried etc. about it - I was just sort of watching stuff happen that I had no emotional involvement in... we don't care about any of the characters so there are NO STAKES. None of the actions carry any weight.

I liked Depp and Bale but they needed more to do. The storyline with Cotillard lacked any spark to make me believe that these two people loved each other - so I didn't really care about their scenes together because I just wasn't feeling it... the movie feels hollow.

There are about 40 minutes that I thought really worked: Dillinger's escape, the forest gunfight, the finale etc. but having 100 minutes worth of padding didn't do the movie any favours. I don't know how Mann can take a story that sounds mundane like THE INSIDER and make a crackling, compelling thriller, but then takes something that is as exciting and sexy as robbing banks and makes it seem like paint drying. 2 out of 5.

That's pretty much the point I was getting at when I posted last night. Glad to know I'm not the only one who felt this way.

CloverClover
07-02-09, 01:25 AM
I was very disappointed when I saw it today, and rated it half a star in this thread... but it has grown on me considerably since. I don't think it is a masterpiece, but there is something so cinematic about Bale and Depp squaring off in the trench coats, hats and tommy guns. I would be in line for some kind of extended cut which has better breath and character development... as is, I would raise half star to three and a half., can't put my finger exactly on why other than the impact of the filmmaking has grown in me.

Tarantino
07-02-09, 03:11 AM
Three stars. A <i>good</i> movie, but nothing that I'll ever need to see again. As some have already said, there were no emotional connections to the characters, and the girl in the movie was just...dull. Who knows what John saw in her.

As usual in Mann movies, the scenery was great and the sound in my theater was amazing.

= J

Mike86
07-02-09, 03:23 AM
I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. Depp and Bale were good as always and while I thought it could have been a tad shorter (maybe 20 minutes or so) I enjoyed it.

matrixrok9
07-02-09, 05:20 AM
I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. Depp and Bale were good as always and while I thought it could have been a tad shorter (maybe 20 minutes or so) I enjoyed it.

Same here. Way better than Miami Vice. I'd give it a solid B. Probably the best gunshots I've heard, especially the cabin scene. It was nuts.

Sanjuro37
07-02-09, 07:32 AM
I was underwhelmed. I was looking forward to, in the age of the incessant shaky cam and editing, Michael Mann really showing the kids that an action scene can be way more visceral when you actually know what's going on, then he puts the damn shaky cam in his own movie. The shootouts were great, but they're a big step down from most of his action scenes. Depp and Bale had nothing to do, and Cotillard was totally flat. Still, a solid three star effort, but I was hugely disappointed by this.

bunkaroo
07-02-09, 10:18 AM
Regarding the sound, I swear the movie sounded like it was in mono for most of picture. Only towards the end did it sound like there was gunfire coming from the sides.

Blu Man
07-02-09, 11:02 AM
Regarding the sound, I swear the movie sounded like it was in mono for most of picture. Only towards the end did it sound like there was gunfire coming from the sides.

I haven't seen it but when I first watched the trailer I thought my speakers were broken. Did Mann not only use shitty cameras but also a shitty sound system?

Solid Snake
07-02-09, 11:40 AM
Same here. Way better than Miami Vice. I'd give it a solid B. Probably the best gunshots I've heard, especially the cabin scene. It was nuts.

Best gunshots since Heat, right? Cuz...I don't think they were THAT good. But very good gunshots nonetheless.

No way that sound was crappy. Must've been the theaters some of you guys went to sounded amazing in mine.

Cardiac161
07-02-09, 12:25 PM
I didn't love Public Enemies but did like it a lot. Had similar themes to Mann's past movies like Heat & Miami Vice (determined rivalry of the two protagonists fm both sides of the law & the tragic romance between the female leads with the main characters).

Loved the gunfights and the way those tommies & BARs sounded & I also felt more compassion for John Dillinger in the end the same way I did with Neil McCauley.

RyoHazuki
07-02-09, 01:47 PM
Add me to the underwhelmed list. Nothing really engrossing about the film at all. Its all pretty much by the numbers. Bad guys are good, good guys are bad. Everything was pretty much black and white. The shootouts were good but that's expected from Mann. Depp did a good job even though his role was pretty boring. Bale on the other hand comes off much worse with his fake accent and ultra shallow character. His character was played up in the trailers but his character is not developed at all. Seems strange to have underdeveloped characters when the movie is about thirty minutes too long but Public Enemies manages to do it.

oh and Depp walking into the police station and talking to the cops towards the end was absolutely ridiculous.

RyoHazuki
07-02-09, 01:48 PM
Regarding the sound, I swear the movie sounded like it was in mono for most of picture. Only towards the end did it sound like there was gunfire coming from the sides.
That's weird you mention that because I thought the sound was fucked in my theater. It sounded mono most of the time and the dialouge was really hard to hear sometimes.

OldBoy
07-02-09, 02:51 PM
Regarding the sound, I swear the movie sounded like it was in mono for most of picture. Only towards the end did it sound like there was gunfire coming from the sides.

guess it wasn't just my theater then.

MBoyd
07-02-09, 03:08 PM
oh and Depp walking into the police station and talking to the cops towards the end was absolutely ridiculous.

I completely agree with that.

mdc3000
07-02-09, 03:56 PM
That's weird you mention that because I thought the sound was fucked in my theater. It sounded mono most of the time and the dialouge was really hard to hear sometimes.

I think there must be a batch of prints with fucked up sound, because I had the same issue when I saw it - the movie sounded like shit and seemed to be mono or 2.0 at best for the majority...I know that theatre is usually great for sound so I just figured maybe they were having an issue that day but if 4 people in different locations have mentioned it, something is up.

bunkaroo
07-02-09, 04:11 PM
I'd probably guess the sound is intentional before I'd think it's a defect. Somehow I could see Mann going with mono to make it more like a 30's film.

matrixrok9
07-02-09, 04:18 PM
You might be right with some prints being bad. I watched it at Krikorian Theatres in Buena Park where the presentation is always top notch(digital audio and video), even in the smaller theatres (watched in a smaller screen) and had no problem with it. This has the best gunshots I've heard, yes even better than Heat. It was so crisp and clear that it felt like you were actually at the scene. I think the cops were firing the BARs in the forest and I could feel the impact of each shot. Especially when it hit a tree or a wall. I know my home theatre can't replicate this experience so I might just have have to watch the movie one more time just for the sound effects.

bunkaroo
07-02-09, 04:47 PM
I will say the sound quality I heard was not bad, but there definitely wasn't much directional stuff happening.

cranberries fan
07-03-09, 12:07 AM
I think most of you guys are way to hard on this flim it's period film from the 30's Mann's played out everypoint of Dillinger crimes from prison to end!

And just about everything Dillinger did is in the movie (some things Mann made-up in the movie I will not tell) and Johnny Depp will get a oscar nod for this period!

On-side note it's in my top 5 favorite movies of summer so far! and people this is right up there with the best of Gangsters Movies.

beavis69
07-03-09, 03:50 AM
Add me to the underwhelmed list. Nothing really engrossing about the film at all. Its all pretty much by the numbers. Bad guys are good, good guys are bad. Everything was pretty much black and white. The shootouts were good but that's expected from Mann. Depp did a good job even though his role was pretty boring. Bale on the other hand comes off much worse with his fake accent and ultra shallow character. His character was played up in the trailers but his character is not developed at all. Seems strange to have underdeveloped characters when the movie is about thirty minutes too long but Public Enemies manages to do it.

oh and Depp walking into the police station and talking to the cops towards the end was absolutely ridiculous.


Searching around on the interenet it appears your spoiler actually happened in real life. Anyways, movie was pretty contrived. Crime movie by the numbers. Mann needs to learn how to back the camera up a bit. To much extreme closeups that didnt really work very well on digital. The sound was off, not sure if it was my theater or the actual movie. The gunfights were pretty good though. Overall decent watch, but i don't think ill own it ever

Defiant1
07-03-09, 02:49 PM
Is Public Enemies better than Miami Vice at least? I couldn't believe how Michael Mann could turn such a cinematic premise as that and completely blow it.

Supermallet
07-03-09, 03:00 PM
I really liked Miami Vice and didn't like Public Enemies. This may be Mann's most boring film.

mdc3000
07-03-09, 04:00 PM
^I agree - Miami Vice was at least TWICE as good as Public Enemies.

chris_sc77
07-03-09, 04:05 PM
I would say the theatrical cut of Miami Vice is pretty terrible and EXTREMELY uninvolving and boring. I thought the directors cut of Miami Vice was much better but still wasnt great or anything. The DC had the benefit of at least having a beginning of a film instead of just randomly starting in the middle of the first act.
But to answer the question public Enemies is indeed better than either version of MV.

wendersfan
07-03-09, 05:39 PM
I really didn't like it. It was certainly well acted (Crudup's Hoover was a scream) but the look of it, the way it was shot, and the pacing were all off. Too many close ups and at least a half hour too long. The high point was seeing movielib on screen.

Patman
07-03-09, 08:51 PM
I didn't like 2 main things about this film:

1. It being shot on DV, hated the look, it felt like an episode of "Cops" when the action got chaotic, but not in a good way.

2. The running time, especially since it just becomes less and less interesting as the film wore for me.

I think it's time for Michael Mann to do a film that doesn't have one gunshot in it because his sonic gunshot signature is becoming cliched, there isn't much shock value in them, even with all the bass embellishments to them.

I didn't hate this film, I just never really got engrosed in it, either. It's just somewhat a bland tale of John Dillinger the bank robber, and the FBI's efforts to catch him. There are a couple of decent shootout scenes, but the DV look just hindered my enjoyment of them.

I give it 2.75 stars, or a grade of B-.

Finisher
07-03-09, 09:57 PM
I love Michael Mann but I hate his decision to keep using DV. Especially for a 1930s period piece. And my sound sucked, too.

That said, Mann shoots in such an intimate way, the empathy level is very high. Seems like this turns some people off, but I really felt for both protagonists. And Mann always turns the antagonist into a second protagonist - they both have compelling motivation and their goals clash at the highest stakes.

movielib
07-03-09, 10:18 PM
I really didn't like it. It was certainly well acted (Crudup's Hoover was a scream) but the look of it, the way it was shot, and the pacing were all off. Too many close ups and at least a half hour too long. The high point was seeing movielib on screen.
Funny, that was my high point too.

The movie was OK. I did not like the digital photography. I thought the film looked dingy. Mostly it was uninvolving. I think the end picked up a bit, enough to just raise it to the ***½ I gave it in the poll.

Unlike many here, I am not much of a Michael Mann fan to begin with, even though he's been my only director. ;) I think Heat is a borefest and I thought the TV Miami Vice was unwatchable. I didn't even see the film. Collateral, The Insider, Thief and Manhunter were decent. I didn't like The Last of the Mohicans and The Keep was an absolute train wreck which I hate even more because it crapped all over one of the greatest horror novels of all time.

Supermallet
07-03-09, 10:41 PM
Was I the only one who thought the Purvis scenes were far more interesting than the Dillinger ones? The procedural elements of catching Dillinger were really interesting. Dillinger himself was not.

Also, count me in as someone who hated the DV photography. I liked the stuff he did on Collateral and Miami Vice, and every so often the DV photography made it feel like you were really there, but usually in a "So this is how they shoot a movie" kind of way. One of my friends said he kept waiting to see a boom mic dip into frame because everything looked like behind the scenes footage. It just didn't feel like a movie about the 30's, despite Mann painstakingly recreating every detail of the period. If he wanted a gritty but authentic look, he should have shot 16mm.

B5Erik
07-04-09, 12:33 AM
I liked it. While it wasn't as good as it could have been, it was still a very engrossing movie for me. I thought Depp was really good as Dillinger - better than I expected, and the supporting cast was fantastic.

The script was pretty good, but needed another draft. Some beefing up of the character moments could have helped (just making them resonate a little more), but there were a lot of good scenes in the movie so it ended up working fairly well. The direction was very good (not the best the Mann's done, but still quite good). When it came down to the end I was shocked - the first half hour or so dragged, but the last hour and a half went by a lot quicker than I thought. The movie in it's entirety felt like an hour and 45 minutes to me.

I'll definitely pick this up on Blu Ray - hopefully with a director's cut added on.

I gave it 4/5.

Matt925
07-04-09, 06:58 AM
I liked the photography and staging of scenes, but it moved pretty damn slow and I never really cared about anyone onscreen.

Blu Man
07-04-09, 10:15 AM
It was more boring then I thought. All of the good parts showed up in the trailers. The image didn't look to bad printed on film, but most of the time it looked like a home movie. Mostly in the gun fight at the lodge. One of the worst looking scenes that I have every seen.

Shilex
07-04-09, 11:41 AM
I agree that the night scenes did look especially bad. It really took me right out of the movie. Kinda felt like watching a movie on a 120hz television where the camera work is like a documentary.

Count me in the group that thought the movie was just "meh". Depp never really got to do much with Dillenger except look forlorn. The movie was disjointed and felt way longer than it was. There was no real time for development of any character. Even Bale was underutilized even though he was in half the scenes. Half the characters felt like they were just popping in and out of scenes with no real explanation of who they were. The shoot-outs became monotonous after the first couple. Just bang-bang and drive off. The movie was structured very similarly to Heat, and I think this is where Mann went wrong. He seemed to be grasping at a relationship to focus on when there really wasn't much of one to begin with (Bale/Depp, Depp/Cotillard). There were hints of something developing, but no real follow through (like the unseen train robbery that never happened).

PacMan2006
07-04-09, 01:10 PM
I couldn't get over that this was shot on video. Hard to get immersed in the 1930's when everything on screen is crisp, clear, and buttery smooth.

The film had little character development, as well, which is obviously a big problem.

AndyCleveland
07-04-09, 01:37 PM
I think there must be a batch of prints with fucked up sound, because I had the same issue when I saw it - the movie sounded like shit and seemed to be mono or 2.0 at best for the majority...I know that theatre is usually great for sound so I just figured maybe they were having an issue that day but if 4 people in different locations have mentioned it, something is up.

add me to the list of people who experienced shit sound. Dialogue was really soft and hard to make out, while background noises were super loud. Gunshots were extremely underwhelming/muffled. And this was in a state of the art theater that always provides the best presentations (I drive past 3 other theaters just for the presenation).

After about an hour and a half, I walked out (as did my 2 friends)- for two reasons:
-the sound was so distractingly bad
-the movie was really boring

when leaving, we asked if there was an issue with the sound. they said that the sound was presented correctly, but also noted that other viewers had issues as well. the manager refunded the tickets, but we weren't expecting that.

RD1973
07-04-09, 02:34 PM
I saw the movie last night and I give it 4/5 stars. In my opinion, its the best movie of the summer by far. The acting by the entire cast was incredible. The sound and the music were both awesome. The music is especially excellent when Dillinger comes out of the movie theater. I was rivetted from beginning to end (which is a shocker for this summer). As for the character development, I knew everything I needed to know about these characters. Michael Mann is not into spoon-feeding his audience. He conveys alot of information visually. And honestly, for me, that works alot better than half-assed character development (daddy used to beat mommy, so now I'm a criminal, etc.).

My one gripe is the look of the movie. Mann has to get rid of his Digital camera. Most of the movie looked fine, but some scenes (mostly at night) had a porno quality to them. And that's not good.

Still, I'm very happy. The last movie I saw was TF2 (probably the worst experience I've ever had in a movie theater). It feels good to wash that taste out of my mouth.

golden_rod
07-04-09, 02:49 PM
I found it rather dull and uninvolving. I wasn't expecting an exciting action picture because I just never got that vibe from it, but it was the kind of movie that was just there. Doing nothing.

Depp was quite awful & painfully bland, and I found the most interesting parts to involve Bale, but they didn't give the Purvis character nearly enough screentime. Chemistry between Depp and Cotillard seemed to be on vacation, but she sure was pretty to look at.

GreenVulture
07-04-09, 03:54 PM
The procedural elements of catching Dillinger were really interesting.
Most definitely; it's just a shame that Bale is so uninteresting here (and in many of his other movies), to the point of being a nonentity in the movie. Depp's performances are usually something to look forward to, but it's like he was on autopilot here. And Cotilliard is completely wasted. This may be one of the few big-budget prestige films I can think of where the main characters are so boring, which is not a word that should be used when describing a film about the manhunt for John Dilliinger.

Not a good sign when virtually everybody in the supporting cast outshines them with far more personality with far less screentime (Billy Crudup, Jason Clarke, Stephen Graham and Stephen Lang in particular).

farfel81
07-04-09, 05:56 PM
The DVD Talk review is right on the money! It amazes me that so many reviewers seem to have seen a movie they wished to see, not what ended up on the screen. By far the best and most accurate review of the film I've seen.

Dubya
07-04-09, 06:15 PM
Count me in the group that thought the movie was just "meh". Depp never really got to do much with Dillenger except look forlorn. The movie was disjointed and felt way longer than it was. There was no real time for development of any character. Even Bale was underutilized even though he was in half the scenes. Half the characters felt like they were just popping in and out of scenes with no real explanation of who they were. The shoot-outs became monotonous after the first couple. Just bang-bang and drive off. The movie was structured very similarly to Heat, and I think this is where Mann went wrong. He seemed to be grasping at a relationship to focus on when there really wasn't much of one to begin with (Bale/Depp, Depp/Cotillard). There were hints of something developing, but no real follow through (like the unseen train robbery that never happened).

I'm a big fan of Mann's films but your review sums up my feelings. I thought the ending was well done but overall it was a disappointment.

MBoyd
07-04-09, 07:25 PM
The DVD Talk review is right on the money! It amazes me that so many reviewers seem to have seen a movie they wished to see, not what ended up on the screen. By far the best and most accurate review of the film I've seen.

Totally. I even noticed the reviewer used the word "smeary" as I did to describe it!

stingermck
07-04-09, 08:21 PM
I haven't seen it yet, and im not trying to start something, but can someone explain to me why the film being clear and shot in DV takes people out of it? Does a period piece have to be shot on film and have grain to be more effective? Does every film that doesn't take place in the present need it?

joefrog91
07-04-09, 09:24 PM
Put me down as another that hated the DV look of the film. I hadn't read anything about the movie before going to see it and immediately thought the cinematography sucked. I liked the movie, but was not blown away by it. For me, a period piece should have a certain look to it. This movie looked too modern for my tastes.

Shannon Nutt
07-05-09, 01:43 PM
PUBLIC ENEMIES should be used in film school (and perhaps over at Skywalker Ranch) as an example of how some movies just shouldn't be shot digitally. This movie begged to be shot on film.

That said, I didn't hate it...but it's not something I'm anxious to see again. It was actually nice to see a Mann movie that was a little slower paced and less "flashy," but the script really needed some charaterzation work...I left the movie feeling both Depp and Bale's characters were pretty one-dimensional.

Daytripper
07-05-09, 06:20 PM
Really liked it. I'd give it an 8.5/10 or 4/5 stars. And my only gripe (like most) was it being shot in digital. That was just a huge mistake. I mean, the clouds sure looked great, but the rest just didn't feel right. Still, not a deal breaker. It's one of the summer's best movies IMO.

Draven
07-05-09, 08:53 PM
Really liked it a lot. Loved the DV look...occassionally I sort of forgot I was watching a movie. Thought Depp and Bale both nailed their parts, great action, interesting script and pacing and made me interested enough to look up some Dillinger stuff, which I've never cared to do before.

Nice to see an actual GOOD movie in the theater this summer.

Boba Fett
07-05-09, 11:20 PM
3.5/5 from me. Great acting, but the script was all over the place, the runtime was a good 30-35 minutes too long and littered with factual inaccuracies.

The Bus
07-06-09, 03:25 PM
It was hard to pick up the dialogue at the beginning of the film, which Im starting to get used to for Mann's films.

Yeah, something was very, very odd with the sound mixing. Like the center was muddled. Unless we both went to the Union Square theater... :lol:

Anyone else have this issue?

The Bus
07-06-09, 03:30 PM
Also, count me in as someone who hated the DV photography. I liked the stuff he did on Collateral and Miami Vice, and every so often the DV photography made it feel like you were really there, but usually in a "So this is how they shoot a movie" kind of way. One of my friends said he kept waiting to see a boom mic dip into frame because everything looked like behind the scenes footage. It just didn't feel like a movie about the 30's, despite Mann painstakingly recreating every detail of the period. If he wanted a gritty but authentic look, he should have shot 16mm.

The DV style was interesting but I wonder what Mann's reasoning for using it was.

At the beginning of the movie, I thought it worked very well. It did a great job contrasting the starkness of the prison, the escape, the emptiness of 30s. And it looked beautiful, almost as nice as the Che footage shot with the RED One.

But later, it just became more and more of a problem for me.

movielib
07-06-09, 04:31 PM
Yeah, something was very, very odd with the sound mixing. Like the center was muddled. Unless we both went to the Union Square theater... :lol:

Anyone else have this issue?
Yes. I thought it was just our theater but maybe not.

Finisher
07-06-09, 05:05 PM
The DV style was interesting but I wonder what Mann's reasoning for using it was.I was curious about this too since Mann's a perfectionist and a strong visualist and he's deliberately sacrificing a degree of visual beauty. Here are relevant snippets from a Mann interview (http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/arts/chi-0628-michael-mann-profilejun28,0,4769501.column) with the Chicago Tribune:

"To me, what's important is to internalize things, getting the audience in the zone with the characters. That's the objective. That's the challenge."

Test footage (in high-def digital video) "made me feel like I was there, on a rainy night in Chicago, 1933." It's about "the closeness of the experience," the hard-edged immediacy of digital versus "the liquid surface" of film.

"The most exciting thing," Mann says, "is if I can convey what it felt like to be there. I try, anyway, for some authenticity. That's where the drama is. It lies in intense experience."

So, it's a tradeoff of visual aesthetics for immediacy, heightened identification. I personally don't think it's a fair trade but I at least understand Mann's choice to use DV better.

RD1973
07-06-09, 05:55 PM
Does anyone know if Lucas used a different digital camera for ROTS? That movie looks great and I wouldn't even know it was shot on digital if I hadn't read it.

Miami Vice, Collateral, and Apocalypto look like they were shot using the same cameras used for DVD featurettes. And Public Enemies looks even worse, especially the night scenes.

Daytripper
07-06-09, 06:00 PM
Does anyone know if Lucas used a different digital camera for ROTS? That movie looks great and I wouldn't even know it was shot on digital if I hadn't read it.

Miami Vice, Collateral, and Apocalypto look like they were shot using the same cameras used for DVD featurettes. And Public Enemies looks even worse, especially the night scenes.

Oh I agree with you there. The night scenes in digital were just horrible.

RagingBull80
07-06-09, 11:56 PM
I thought the flick was pretty good myself. I think there could have been a little more emotional depth to most of the characters but all in all I liked it.

Oh, and the sound was really shitty at my theatre.

Boba Fett
07-07-09, 01:41 AM
Mann uses primarily Thomson Viper which gets up to 1080p resolution, whereas Lucas uses the the Panavision HD-900F, which Mann also used in Ali.

If the movie wasn't so long, I'd go see it again in the digital theater to see if a pure digital presentation looks any better. I know the difference between Star Trek in 35mm and DLP was night and day (as was the sound).

RichC2
07-07-09, 09:17 AM
The thing with Trek is the color palette really came alive in DLP vs. 35mm. I don't think Public Enemies would fare the same since it seems intentionally muted.

Oh and similarly, Knowing was shot using RED digital cameras and looks pretty fantastic for the most part (save for some weak visual effects).

Solid Snake
07-07-09, 10:33 AM
Unfortunately you can't tell that by Nic Cage's hair in the way at all times.

jdslater1
07-07-09, 07:43 PM
I gave it a 4/5 and strangely enough I didn't find it too long. It had one of the best supporting casts I have seen ( I thought Lang was superb). The shootouts were great, the sound of a tommy gun is hard to beat.
But I agree with most about the sound, all over the place. I was not watching it digtally sadly but some of the cuts between scenes were really badly edited.

Geofferson
07-08-09, 09:27 PM
I finally caught it this week and really enjoyed it (lowered expectations, perhaps). While flawed, I thought it was a great couple hours and would go see it again in a heartbeat.

Michael Ballack
07-10-09, 09:15 AM
Does anyone know if Lucas used a different digital camera for ROTS? That movie looks great and I wouldn't even know it was shot on digital if I hadn't read it.

Miami Vice, Collateral, and Apocalypto look like they were shot using the same cameras used for DVD featurettes. And Public Enemies looks even worse, especially the night scenes.

Yes he did. Just like digital cameras, digital video cameras continue to get better every few years. For episodes 2 and 3, Lucas used Sony cameras, but the Episode 3 camera was supposed to be twice as good as the Episode 2 one.

will travel
07-16-09, 01:55 AM
In my opinion the Best looking woman and the actress with the most talent in this film was Myrna Loy. :)

PopcornTreeCt
07-16-09, 09:54 AM
I had too high expectations for this movie. It didn't resonate with me. I felt nothing for the characters. The gun fights were loud as expected but none of the scenes were truly memorable. Christian Bale was probably my favorite part as he was back to Bale and not Batman.

--Spoilers-- (you're in a "reviews thread")

The final death scene undermined everything we'd seen previously. I was hoping for a Leon death scene but Mann chose to go with super-fake slow mo CGI which was ridiculously out of place.

The bank robbery scenes were just scenes. They didn't reveal anything about the characters nor were they exciting, suspenseful or clever.

It had a lot going for it so I didn't hate it. But it was just a boring gangster film.

AnonomusBob15
07-16-09, 10:05 AM
Saw it a few nights ago. It isn't the most exciting movie ever but I enjoyed it. The cast and direction were great. I even liked the digital. It's just hard to sit in a theater for three hours if the story isn't tightly paced.

I expect this to grow on me more on DVD, much like Ali and Miami Vice.

Solid Snake
07-16-09, 12:10 PM
Dillinger died like that. Minus the little thing he says like that and that guy that's nervous as fuck about being killed by Dillinger.

Dan1boy
07-16-09, 01:48 PM
I had too high expectations for this movie. It didn't resonate with me. I felt nothing for the characters. The gun fights were loud as expected but none of the scenes were truly memorable. Christian Bale was probably my favorite part as he was back to Bale and not Batman.

--Spoilers-- (you're in a "reviews thread")

The final death scene undermined everything we'd seen previously. I was hoping for a Leon death scene but Mann chose to go with super-fake slow mo CGI which was ridiculously out of place.

The bank robbery scenes were just scenes. They didn't reveal anything about the characters nor were they exciting, suspenseful or clever.

It had a lot going for it so I didn't hate it. But it was just a boring gangster film.

Couldn't freakin' agree more...review is right on!!

damn mindreaders....

JimRochester
07-17-09, 10:26 PM
Just saw this and give it a 3.5/5. It was good but not great. Too much shaky handheld photography for me and not enough depth of character compared to Untouchables