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View Full Version : My Review of Public Enemies



Gondito
07-10-2009, 11:54 PM
Ok. I came into this movie expecting a great bank robbery action flick, that was how the movie was advertised, and that is how it was described in the many good reviews it received.

Somehow, this movie failed on nearly everything it promised.

I'll start with what initially set me off, within the first 2 minutes of the movie, I hated the camerawork and cinematography. throughout the movie it uses that documentary style camera angles and the camera is awfully shakey, and not even in good taste, like used in The Office.
It seems like the camera men were a bunch of slightly drunk college students in wheelchairs! The camera was often below the actors, looking up at them, constantly shaking. During the action scenes the shaking often got so bad that it would take away from the experience, and often nauseating. Not to mention the action was bland, and badly choreographed, just mindless tommy gun shooting from behind cover, until someone important died, or a character ran off. There were no tide turning moments in the fights, just shoot. duck. shoot. die. speed off.

This movie is about one of the greatest bank robbers of the great depression right? so why are there only about two and a half bank robbery scenes, and both scenes less than 5 minutes long? The robberies are too short and few to show how Dillinger is the great crook that he is. The only motivations they give Dillinger for what he does are "my daddy hit me a lot when I was young because it was the only way he knew how to raise me"... ok, that just barely explains why Dillinger could have gone down the path of crime that he did, but it sure would have been nice to see or hear more about how he got to be the way he is.

The script was unimaginative, containing literally zero interesting dialogue. The relationship Depp and his girl had seemed pointless, there is really no motivation behind their love for eachother, they just do because its in the script. Oh, did I mention the screenplay was also terrible? It's all just so, boring. that is the best word to describe it. Take for example the scene where Dillinger and his girlfriend meet. They see eachother in a club, Dillinger lays down some simple wisdom. "I like money, fast cars, liquor, and you". After that they are practically a couple. I understand that the movie is already 2 hours long, and they couldnt realistically fit in "petty" details like that, so why didnt Michael Mann decide to shorten some of the lengthy, boring, frequent gun fights and fit in the details that would have given the plot more depth? Public Enemies needs more of a background story to Dillinger and his romance.

I found one redeeming quality to this movie. The end. The best acting depp does in the movie is in the last 20 minutes. And the horrible bland mess of a non-existant story is wrapped up fairly respectively, but still, not very interestingly.

Dont get me wrong, the end to Public Enemies is not enough to save the horrible mess of a film this badly turned out to be.

Save yourself two hours of your life and Don't see Public Enemies.

v0rtex
07-11-2009, 12:35 AM
I have to agree with this review. Especially the points made about the cinematography - terrible. I too was pulled out of the movie and thinking about a cameraman in more than one instance. Also... I read somewhere that this was shot in HD, which I assumed means digital. There were several scenes where the frame rate and pixel resolution was clearly higher than in others. What I'm saying is it looked like video. This also pulled me away and had me thinking about the process and not the story (what there was of a story). Felt like watching video reenactments on the history channel.

The acting was flat, the story (while a biopic, so based on fact) was virtually non-existent, and the direction was pathetic. Johnny Depp is one of my favorite performers and I've often said I'd watch anything with him in it. I will not watch this one again.

I am confused by the many positive reviews that I have seen for this. Did these people see the same LOOOONG (2:35) piece of garbage that I saw?

BSprague
07-11-2009, 12:56 AM
There were several scenes where the frame rate and pixel resolution was clearly higher than in others. What I'm saying is it looked like video.
I believe they used actual footage in some scenes. :)

Gondito
07-11-2009, 02:28 AM
I have to agree with this review. Especially the points made about the cinematography - terrible. I too was pulled out of the movie and thinking about a cameraman in more than one instance. Also... I read somewhere that this was shot in HD, which I assumed means digital. There were several scenes where the frame rate and pixel resolution was clearly higher than in others. What I'm saying is it looked like video. This also pulled me away and had me thinking about the process and not the story (what there was of a story). Felt like watching video reenactments on the history channel.

The acting was flat, the story (while a biopic, so based on fact) was virtually non-existent, and the direction was pathetic. Johnny Depp is one of my favorite performers and I've often said I'd watch anything with him in it. I will not watch this one again.

I am confused by the many positive reviews that I have seen for this. Did these people see the same LOOOONG (2:35) piece of garbage that I saw?
I think they might have seen a completely different movie based on what I read. IGN even said it was a "well-shot look at the ledgend of Dillinger"
No, we definetly didnt see the same film.


I believe they used actual footage in some scenes. :)
Some of it was real, but only about 30 seconds worth. But thats not the part of the movie we are refering to, we are refering to the rest of it.

I updated the review to elaborate on some points

mrsupercomputer
07-11-2009, 06:11 AM
Bummer. I was really looking forward to seeing this. Perhaps I'll hold off until it's on DVD.

v0rtex
07-11-2009, 06:57 AM
Yeah - I just hope Inglourious Basterds is better than this was.

Gondito
07-11-2009, 06:12 PM
Inglorious Basterds looks like it could be great, and overall more promising.

hopefully it wont turn out like another Public Enemies.

i highly doubt it will though