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Tomas Gallucci

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Public Enemies: The Cinephile's Enemy [Jul. 8th, 2009|12:29 am]
Tomas Gallucci
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[music |Otis Taylor - Ten Million Slaves]


I'm with ehowton on the false advertising in trailers thing: I think that studios that snooker you into the theater via false advertising in their trailers ought to have to pay out punitive damages in a class action lawsuit. All of the good shots of Public Enemies was in the trailer. Michael Mann owes me $10.50 for a midnight ticket after being drawn, beaten, horsewhipped, set on fire and quartered. I demand that Universal personally send Johnny Depp with my refund check, even though he and Christian Bale were the only things right wit the movie.

There's very little good to say about this movie. I can't recall a lick of the score because it all sounded like source music. The only recognizable piece of music in the film is Otis Taylor's Ten Million Slaves which, if you don't buy the linked single, you get forced into buying the the whole damned album.


For whatever insane reason, Director Michael Mann decided to film on cheap digital cameras.It's impossible to tell if that was a fatal flaw or not. I think what did happen and isn't being 'fessed up to is an American DP was hired, shot a few scenes and then someone went, "Hey, let's hire the DP from A&E's Pride and Prejudice.

Ok, so I just checked, Dante Spinotti didn't DP P&P, but he might as well have. Public Enemies is a far cry from L.A. Confidential.

For most of the picture, it felt like the camera was put on sticks sixty feet away from the action and filmed with a telescopic lens. Close ups were few and far between, but even so, when they were there, they felt fake and reeked of amateurism. The nighttime scenes were so dark that you couldn't tell what was happening.

Production design was non-exisist outside costumes, cars and buildings. There were too many shots that were just too clean. No, this isn't the fault of the digital cameras having more resolution or less depth of field (actually, digital cameras have more depth of field, but all you dumbass filmmaker wannabes out there get it backwards. The fuzzier you make something, the less depth of field you have.)

The sound designer and his crew need to undergo the same tortures as the director immediately after the DP and production design crew. The sound kept fading in and out and was blatantly fake more than once. And when I say blatantly fake, I don't mean you realized how they used object A to make the sound of object B, I mean the sound you heard didn't match what was on the screen. Again, this aspect reeked of amateurism.


I'm convinced that Johnny Depp can't give a bad performance and he's proved that in Public Enemeies. He was the only constant in the film. Though Johnny's performance can't save the film, he can suck you into the story and even garner a certain bit of empathy as he is, in a sense, living the ultimate American Dream.

Bale's performance comes and goes, but I think this has more to do with bad editing and horrible composition than it does raw performance.

The real winner here is one that has gone unmentioned in all the press junkets and that is Billy Crudup. I swear, Billy's the best goddamned character actor out there. I've seen a ton of his films: Almost Famous, Big Fish, The Good Shepherd and Watchmen, but for the life of me I can never identify Crudup. That's character acting.

Overall, I can only give Public Enemies 3 stars out of 10, one star for each star. Seriously folks, save your money and wait for your no good neighbor to pirate the thing.


[User Picture]From: ehowton
2009-07-08 09:53 am (UTC)
but for the life of me I can never identify Crudup. That's character acting.

This is what I enjoy about great character actors. I'm always surprised to discover its them.
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2009-07-08 11:22 am (UTC)

I had a conversation with some co-workers recently where we were discussing this very thing. One person made the observation that most so-called actors cannot act, they just have a certain personality. Then you have the character actors. Crudup is definitely in the latter category.
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[User Picture]From: darkest_writer
2009-07-08 03:24 pm (UTC)
Aw man, I was looking forward to this movie =/ goddamn Hollywood once again.
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2009-07-08 03:57 pm (UTC)
I was looking forward to the film too. It was teh suck.
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