Friday, July 03, 2009

Review: Public Enemies (2009)

Since I've started this blog, there has not been a movie with Johnny Depp for me to review. So this is the first time I can point this out; Johnny Depp is singularly responsible for my love of film. I had once been a lover of movies, but somehow they got away from me. Then I saw Pirates of the Caribbean when I was 15 and remember thinking that his performance was the first one where I actually thought "that was an amazing acting performance." Thus, my love affair with Johnny Depp and the need to see films emerged.

So. That said, on to Public Enemies. I had a few issues with this one. First of all, I don't know much about the story of John Dillinger. However, the film was presented as if everybody should have a decent amount of knowledge going in. Essentially, I was lost a lot of the time and it was really difficult to absorb information. There were so many characters that were never properly introduced and some that never saw the end of their story line. For example. Billy Crudup as J. Edgar Hoover comes into the story with somewhat of an introduction, gives a great performance for a few scenes, but then fades away into the background and is never heard from again. Even Christian Bale who is supposedly a co-lead on this one, was sort of missing half the time and the other half he wasn't doing it for me (although, I don't think he can be blamed for that.)

The film's biggest problem was the writing. I really felt it lacked depth. It's over 2 hours but I still don't quite know if I got anything out of it. There was hardly any character development or a commitment to themes. I was under the impression that this film was more about the beginning of the FBI's crack down on local law enforcement (all established because of John Dillinger). And was it about that? Maybe. It was touched upon briefly but again, I got the impression that the film was mocking me for my lack of knowledge.

In terms of technical problems, there was something wrong with the sound mixing, because a lot of the dialogue was lost on me. Either the actors were mumbling or those audio tracks were not deemed important enough in the editing process. To sum up; this film missed the mark.

All disappointment aside, the camera work in this film is phenomenal. Honestly some of the best hand-held camera work I've seen. I love Johnny Depp and he always delivers. Always.

Recommended? Eh...

Grade: C