Sunday, January 03, 2010


How can you possibly screw up the story of John Dillinger as badly as PUBLIC ENEMIES? He's one of the most fascinating characters of the 20th century! Just about everything about this adaptation is horrendous. Starting with the screenplay, which was full of holes and dialogue that sounded like it was randomly taken cliches from other movies.

Then add terrible acting – has Christian Bale ever been this wooden before? Why does Dillinger's girlfriend have a French accent? Even Johnny Depp seems like there was no director on the set.

And then there is the technical. The movie, as is typical for a Mann film, has the worst dialogue mix I've heard since... his last film. I'm sorry guys, I know you're pros, but someone has to tell the director that if you can't understand the dialogue, you stop giving a crap about the movie.

And the picture. What happened to Dante Spinotti? This movie looks like it was shot through somebody's screen door on their porch. The whole movie looks like crap. Everything is a close-up, so you get no geographic orientation in any scenes, and everything is so dark that all the characters look alike. I actually stopped the movie because I thought something was wrong with my BluRay player.

The music was also awful. A bizarre mix of period-accurate Billy Holiday and period-inaccurate Diana Krall (whom I normally love), plus score by Elliot Goldenthal, who is normally great, but sounds like it was temped with THE GREEN MILE, UNTOUCHABLES, and the Soggy Bottom Boys.

I can't recommend this mess at all.

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