Hey folks, Harry here with the latest Test Screening report from PUBLIC ENEMIES - the Dillinger story by Michael Mann featuring Depp and Bale facing off. Great thing about this film is that Mann shot it on location at the places where the events took place. Every bank, movie theater, etc you see was the actual locations where the 'Jackrabbit' hopped away with cash! Mann does gangsters - and frankly I can't wait!
I saw the Public Enemies screening tonight, and let me just say that Michael Mann is consistently on point. I was worried about his style and the time period clashing, but I'll get to that in a bit. First, the performances. Johnny Depp plays John Dillinger, and Christian Bale plays the man heading up the Bureau's investigation. Johnny Depp was absolutely perfect for the role. He plays it with such a subtlety, such a perfect cunning. He was great to watch in every scene, especially with Marion Cotillard, who I found myself liking more and more as the movie progressed. Bale nails the necessary accents, and is perfectly suited for the man in charge of the manhunt. My favorite person to pop up was Giovanni Ribisi, who steals every scene he was in. Michael Mann's style has been retained, and refined. I wish more action minded directors would watch his movies. There's such a clarity to his action, that's been lost in the last couple of years. And, as can be expected, the cinematography is top notch. It's a different time, and different places, but he still finds a way to capture it in that graceful way. Music was temp, and the sound was half temp. It sounded like all the gun sound effects were the ones recorded live on set. It worked for Heat, and it works here. The guns really pack a punch. Movie was about two and a half hours, but I'm guessing they'll probably lose another 10-15 minutes just to help pacing and length issues. The movie certainly wasn't slow, but I could see where they could lose a few minutes. Also, nice to see that Mann doesn't subscribe to PG-13 bullshit when it comes to his movies. Every hit counts, and all the blood was there. A lot of it. Definitely a recommended film, I can't wait for the final version. - the man with no name
And here' s a look from The Bardy Party - he really really loved it! Can't wait!
Hey Harry, I haven't written too many reviews for you guys, but I thought I had to let everyone know that PUBLIC ENEMIES was Amazingly Fantastic. They had one of those special screenings last night where they don't tell you what the title of the movie is at the Sherman Oaks Arclight. When I first read the synopsis on my pass about a John Dillinger gangster flick I instantly knew what it was and thanked the gods for giving me this great chance. Michael Mann sat right in front of me as well, taking notes and actually gave me a thing of popcorn he didn't want. After what seemed like hours, they announced it was public enemies, the lights dimmed and the movie began. I am going to keep this ridiculously SPOILER-FREE. When the movie started there weren't any opening credits whatsoever. No title of the movie or any actors names. The first thing you see on the screen is a giant 1933 in bold white letters, and then some statements about the depression. The opening scene is a jail breakout led by yours truly Johnny Depp. You have to see this movie to believe how great it looks. The way it was shot was different than a lot of movies coming out now a days. The whole Michael Mann, handheld camera in your face is there and works like magic. The cast is phenomenal. Johnny Depp and Christian Bale are both on top of their game in this movie. What I don't understand is why they are trying to get people to see this movie for actors like Channing Tatum who is literally in the movie for 30 seconds in Christian Bale's first scene where he is chasing down Tatum's Pretty Boy Floyd. All the bank robbery scenes are filmed so well and the shootouts in the streets are so insane! The gunshots are so realistic and so ridiculously loud! There is a scene close to the end of the film where Christian Bale's character and the FBI try to ambush Johnny Depp and his mobster crew at their Wisconsin hideout in the woods, and let me tell you, it is ubelieveable! You are literally on the edge of your seat thinking, "Holy shit, are they really doing this right now?" Obviously I won't tell you how the woods shootout ends, but I will say this, Stephen Graham who plays Baby Face Nelson is THE MAN! Whether or not you know how John Dillinger's story comes to an end, you will be in awe at the end of this movie! Sorry I kept this extremely spoiler free, but honestly, you don't wanna know anything about this movie before you treat your eyes to a gloirious treat. You just have to see it and love it. This is one of the greatest gangster flicks I have ever seen in a very long time. I highly reccommend this film and hope some of you can get a chance to see another screening of it soon. If you use this, please call me The Bardy Party.
Lastly we have this negative - which is left questioning a lot of the film. But through his negatives, I have to say - it sounds like Mann is getting Dillinger right. The press would play him as a killer and a Robin Hood. But the reality was... he was a stone cold killer. A handsome one, a notorious lover... and mean with a Tommy Gun!
SexyWhisk here again. I saw all these "Public Enemies" reviews - and they got me miffed. I was there too and these reviews were clearly written by plants or hardcore Mann-iacs. For I think if any other director made this overlong period turd - they would be giving it a lot more flack. Don't get me wrong - the film's not HORRIBLE - but it's certainly only made for 1930s gangster fans and hardcore Michael Mann fans. The rest of you will be disappointed. Let me start with the one thing Mann does right. The Tommy Gunn shoot out. Freaking amazing. The rat-a-tat-tat of the tommy guns blaring against trees and storefronts is fantastic. Picture Heat in the 30's. But these scenes are few and far between. There are maybe 4 or 5 of them in the two and half hour running time. The rest of the time we're stuck with the massively underdeveloped Christian Bale - who's character lacks anything of substance, therein making it incredibly hard to feel anything for him. And you have Depp who does a decent job, but does far from anything mind-blowing or game-changing. In the beginning of the film Dillinger (Depp) falls for Marion Cotillard after staring at her from across the room. Her nonexistent "darker skin" that he speaks of, makes her his true love - and every scene between the two of them felt completely forced and non-sensical to me. Sadly their weak "love story" becomes a major player in the story. Which brings me to the main problem I had with this early version of the film. Even the comment cards passed out at the end asked "what is the plot of this movie?" Is it Dillinger vs the world, Dillinger vs Purvis (Bale), Dillinger and his Love? For me it was a poor mix of all them without one clear story to cling on to. I'll admit I didn't know much about Dillinger before going in. But after walking out all I'm left to assume - is that he was a pretty boy, somewhat quiet toughie, who robbed banks. Yet the film's portrayal constantly puts him next to "badder guys who shoot innocents" and has him "punching the mean guy at the coat check desk who's waiting for the girl to stop talking to Dillinger and get him his coat" - all these not so subtle story points try to make the audience think "ah he wasn't that bad a guy" - but he was clearly a bad guy. He killed a ton of people and he stole bank's money for HIS gain. He was no Robin Hood. I wish they would have given us more of a fair reason why he wasn't a bad guy - or just made him more of a bad guy - rather than BS mid-ground playing both sides. With a two and half hour movie there needs to be a clear person to root for - Look at American Gangster - a much lesser known tale which made you root for Denzel Washington, while also seeing all the shady evil he had inside of him - Depp's Dillinger doesn't come even close to that sort of performance. And Bale has absolutely no story whatsoever. It's almost as if Mann cut it all out in fear of the public's sudden opinion of Bale screaming at that DP on T4. Anyone could have given Bale's performance. Here's hoping this early cut gets MUCH tighter, and helps establish more between the Bale and Depp drama. SexyWhisk out.