Saturday, January 16, 2010
Public Enemies (2009)
Directed by Michael Mann. In this incredibly challenging acting role, Johnny Depp makes the life of John Dillinger seem boring. Good God. Historically accurate right down to seeming to take place in real time over the course of many years, this movie is bewildering. Just how can a story so real, so accurately told, and so well acted be so goddamn bland? There just doesn't seem to be any chemistry between anybody here, nobody has any charisma, nothing works. In a way, it's fascinating. At times, Johnny Depp seems influenced by Ray Liotta's turn as Henry Hill in "Good Fellas," and the overall sprawl of this seems to want to have the electricity of Brian DePalma's delightful 1987 retelling of "The Untouchables." But this desperately needed Robert DeNiro to walk on and do something broad, historically inaccurate and entertaining. When the FBI finally catches up with Dillinger and shoots him in the head, you can't help but think his greatest crime was boring you. In case you're curious, there is no mention of Dillinger's legendarily huge honker. Supporting player Christian Bale does not use his Batman voice, though Marion Cotillard, who played Dillinger's Chicago-born girlfriend should have tried that, because she couldn't hide her French accent for crap. Also, Leelee Sobieski is growing up to look less like a midget version of Helen Hunt, but no less peculiar than when she did.