The 1930s was one of the harshest time in the United States due to the Great Depression. It is also one of the greatest times to be a crook. There is no other time in the history where crooks were idolized and crimes sensationalize like the 30s. Guys like Capone, Bonnie and Clyde, Pretty Boy Floyd, Barker Gang, and Baby Face Nelson dominated the Newspaper with their crimes and no other person made the paper more than John Dillinger, a bank robber. There were so many criminals on the front pages of newspapers that the time period is also known as the public enemies era.
Public Enemies follows the life of John Dillinger, from his bank robberies and prison escapes to his life on the run from the Bureau of Investigation, now the FBI. We pick up John’s life as he escape from the Indiana State Prison, one of his most widely known crime. This is by far the best part of the movie as it goes all down hill from there on and the movie is over two hours long.
This was a highly disappointing movie to watch. The 1930s is one of my favorite era to watch. You have awesome car and tons of gun at play here, but despite that, it was very hard to seem interested at what Dillinger did or what special agent Melvin Purvis or even J. Edgar Hoover were up to. Every time someone went somewhere or did something, you just go “okay”
I also found that a lot of the technicality in this film were very distracting. First was the handheld camera work. It wasn’t nauseating, it was just distracting. A lot of the movie was handheld and I really couldn’t tell why it needed to be. It was really bad handheld at that, almost like an amateur was holding the camera. And second, it was shot both on film and digitally and I could tell the difference between the two. It was really obvious because the lighting on the digital scenes were, in my opinion, really badly design. There were time when the light would be bright white, and then other times where it would be dimly orange, and then other times where they would just be one light, but it was completely too hot. I don’t get it. Dante Spinotti is not a bad Director of photography, so why was the handheld camera work and lighting design so distracting. Personally if you are going to shoot a movie, you should shoot the entire movie in one format and stick with it.
Public Enemies was a complete disappointment. The story and time period was a lure, even the director and actors, but it just wasn’t interesting and the technicality of the film were a huge distraction. Even the poor midwestern accent from Christian Bale was distracting.
Public Enemies get a 2 out of 5.