Who has two thumbs and a BluRay copy of Public Enemies? ... This guy.
Anyways, now that I got that off my chest, I must say how indescribably excited I am to finally own a copy of this movie because I have been, quite literally, anticipating this movie since I first heard about it. Now, everyone has their top three favorite actors: mine are Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, John Cusack, and Robert Downey, Jr. (Okay, I relent. I have four. And there are more.) When I heard that my top two favorites were going to be rivals in a movie about a charismatic gangster from the 30's, I swooned. Especially since I am in love with fedoras, especially on both Johnny Depp and Christian Bale.
Since the movie was based on history, I decided to read up on it. Now, I can tell you my heart belongs to John Dillinger (the real gangster, not Johnny Depp's gangster) and I probably am one of the few twenty-year olds who know almost everything about Dillinger. Of course, I read Public Enemies, the book the movie was based on by Bryan Burrough quite thoroughly before I saw it, so I knew what was going to happen. (*Spoiler Alert: Yeah, I was NOT happy watching Johnny Depp get killed.)
Now, I've been counting down the days until I finally got to see this movie, so when I heard that there was a midnight showing, I had to go. (And so did my brother, my mother, and my friend Jessica.) I was so revved up, especially since I read the book, knew my history; I couldn't wait to see what Michael Mann did with Dillinger's fascinating and inspiring story. Except, instead of enjoying the movie, I found myself picking at discrepencies between history and the movie. Don't get me wrong; I loved the movie, and my actors, and I've always adored Marion Cottillard, but... I'll admit it. I was disappointed. Not with the portrayals, of course, but with the story. John Dillinger had the perfect life to turn into a movie! There was no need to change it in any way!
Of course, that didn't stop me from seeing it three and a half more times in theatres. In fact, I really, really enjoyed the movie the second time because I knew what to expect. I'll say it again; I love the movie. But as a movie; not as a wholly accurate historical portrayal.
Johnny Depp is absolutely fabulous as Dillinger, but that is to be expected. No one can play likeable rogues like Johnny can. Christian Bale's portrayal of Melvin Purvis is actually really sweet. In reality, Purvis was a new kid on the block, nervous (hence the nickname Nervous Purvis), lacking the cool that Dillinger had so easily acquired. But in the movie, he's a Southern gentleman, and it's really hard to dislike him even though he's supposed to be Johnny Depp's rival. Marion is beautiful and talented, and she gives life to Billie Frechette, Dillinger's real long-term girlfriend. We feel her inner-conflict, wanting to stay with Dillinger because she loves him, but not wanting to be there if he gets killed. Go watch this movie for the performances at least! I promise you won't be disappointed. I'm not sure whether you should read the book first or not, but you have to read the book. It's definitely long, but I couldn't put it down. The 30's were a fascinating time.
Sometimes, I think I was born in the wrong time...
Anyways, I just wish bank robbers these days had as much suave and charisma, charm and rugged good looks as Dillinger had.