Went to see Public Enemies yesterday with a friend. I have seen some lackluster reviews, giving the film reluctant
stars at best. I never pay attention to critics; I loved Secret Window, even though critics hated it. I said to my friend “I’ll pay money to watch Johnny paint a fence, and be glad to pay!” The fact that this movie is set in one of my favorite time periods is a bonus. The double bonus is that it’s about CRIME and CRIMINALS – which I LOVE.
So with that attitude, I was looking forward to this movie. There were many things that impressed me about this one. The main one was that this movie, rated R, was a gazillion times less offensive and disgusting than PG 13 Land of the Lost. There was minimal language – in fact, I only heard a few cuss words throughout the movie; I don’t even recall hearing the “mother of all curse words” even once (though it could have snuck in when someone was mumbling…).
Another thing that impressed me was that there was only one love scene, and everyone had clothing on! There was no nudity (though some may argue about that being a plus; I digress!) and the lone scene between John and Billie was short, and sweet and left everything to our imagination.
The third thing that impressed me was that Manhattan Melodrama,
starring Clark Gable, made an appearance at the end this film, giving us a subtle-as-a-train wreck clue to what was in store .
I’m sure the release of Public Enemies is why Turner Movie Classics aired this oldie-but-goodie a couple weeks ago. I loved how Public Enemies included the scene where Blackie iced the guy in the restroom, hiding his gun under a paper towel.
Has anyone else ever noticed that the gangsters and hoods of the 1930’s seemed to have a lot more class than today’s thugs? They were very spiffy dressers, and they even gave their coats away to their shivering female hostagaes…what gentlemen!
I enjoyed Public Enemies; I savored every bit of Johnny. It was an enjoyable flick and one I’d like to add to my collection.
That said, I do have some complaints.
- Not enough of Johnny. Sure he was the star and in almost every scene. But he didn’t get to show off his cocky, self assured self very much. I loved what dialogue he did have, being a wise guy while in custody, but would have really enjoyed a lot more.
- Not enough back story. Yes, someone told John Dillinger he was a hero to the American public. Why? We didn’t see any Robin Hood type antics here. There really is no reason for the public to see him as some kind of hero. I wanted to know WHY the public thought this guy robbing their banks was so incredible.
I also would have liked to see more history on Dillinger. One of the most poignant parts of Johnny Cash’s story was seeing how awful his relationship with his father was. I would have liked to have seen some flashbacks of John Dillinger’s childhood.
- Poor editing/camera action. I really hate the jerky, sudden stop/start camera movements. This is popular nowadays, I know, but it doesn’t allow me to gaze long enough on Johnny.
- Stupid FBI – can you honestly make us believe that this is the same FBI of Mr. Elliot Ness, of The Untouchables? Could this have been the same time period in the same city of Chicago, where the Untouchables was taking down Capone, while Dillinger made these FBI G-men look like Keystone Kops? Please.
- Melvin Purvis. I know the guy could not help his bizarre name, but I had to add this in here. I feel sorry for this guy, having such a goofy, pansy sounding name. (Till now, I thought Elliot Ness’ name was a sissy name.) The end of the movie states that Purvis killed himself in 1960, but reading up on him tells us that it’s not really determined.
Honestly, if the movie depicted the way the events really happened (ha), then I am surprised he didn’t kill himself sooner. Maybe Melvin should have enlisted the help of Mr. Ness, instead of that slow talking dope from Texas (I was wishing it was Walker Texas Ranger coming in….)
Overall, I give the movie a B, but mainly because Johnny was there to save it. I only wish he could have done more.