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PUBLIC ENEMIES - Aka… Public Enemas

By Old Dan Cedar - Posted on 07 July 2009

Synopsis: Johnny Depp dresses up, acts straight, kills cops and dies.

While watching a bad movie my mind tends to wander. When I look back on my notes — that is when I realize — I wasn’t as engaged as I probably should have been. But I don’t feel guilty, because that whacko — Johnny Depp was obviously trying to stretch his range of freaky, flitting, film fucks (see Willie Wonker and Ed Scissor-digits)

I was in a semi-conscious state seeing JD efforting to assume the Suited Hetero Gangster for 2 and a half hours. And I do mean EFFORTING.

But I will get back to this later.

First, the movie.

It should have been called Dillinger. This was the smooth criminal with whom we spent 95% of the story. Johnny Depp is THE star.

Yet, for some reason, Director, Michael Mann, needs a handful of Ritalin because he can’t decide what to focus on. We have “Baby Face” Nelson, “Pretty Boy” Floyd and a handful of other criminals that keep weaving in and out of the film for no apparent reason. This is what happens when you try to make a mini-series into a movie.

We do discover that Christian Bale, who plays FBI agent and JD pursuer Melvin Purvis, can actually speak in a southern accent 3 octaves higher than he does as Batman. He is almost actually audible.

Endless chase and gunfight scenes ensue.

One thing the movie does well. The cops aren’t all good guys.
We know what they know. If they are going to fight the bad guys — they have to fight like bad guys. And they do…

The Feds put an ass-whipping on JD’s girlfriend to get some tortured false confession tantamount to when Elwood Blues sends the over-zealous Protectors and Servers on a wild goose chase to Wrigley Field in The Blues Brothers.

My mind again wandered. This time — to the stretched yarns of the twisted-armed detainees at Gitmo.

”Bin Laden is in that cave over there, yeah, that one… that’s the ticket.”

We also get an abundant amount of close-ups — on the order of what we would see in a 2 and a half hour Clearasil commercial.


Mann is undoubtedly trying to evoke the stylistic, depression-era bank robbing underpinnings of Arthur Penn’s 1967 classic Bonnie and Clyde. This was built — in large degree — on the sexual tension between Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty.

Instead of a classic, we get an amateurish facsimile.

Big Problem. There is ZERO chemistry between Dillinger and the girl that is “the love of his life” — Bille.

Marion Cotillard, who plays Billie, has won an Academy Award. So, we definitely have two good actors. The chemistry is so bad, that I rushed home to check out NNDB to see if JD is listed as “Straight”.

He is. But, let’s just say — I wouldn’t mortgage the house...

He fights the urge as long as he can, but after all — Dillinger is only human.
This amounts to about 15 seconds after “the love of his life” is arrested. He gives a ring a ding to the Madame at the local whorehouse — to work him in some of that fine, store-bought pussy.

And my Brontasaurus brain begins to, once again, wander.

We see Depp smile at one point in the movie for about 1.5 seconds.
There is good reason. The guy has been smoking since he was 12.

Fucking 12!!

And it shows.

An impeccable wardrobe can’t overcome the grungy pearly browns.

Why a movie star that makes shit piles of money — can’t spend 20 grand to get some veneers — is beyond me. And don’t give me that shit about how he is an actor and doesn’t want to be a star.

The “I am an actor” line doesn’t work for another reason. The guy is fucking wearing eyeliner and mascara.
Depp likes the fags and I know he has to be pissed because — apparently, Dillinger didn’t smoke. JD looks like he can’t wait to get back to the trailer to torch one up.

We also get an idea of why automatic weapons aren’t allowed on the streets of our cities anymore. The amount of fake ammo in this movie is comparable to the spent shells on the beaches of Normandy.

And with all of that — Nobody!! Cops, criminals, innocent women and children — NOBODY is afraid. They stand there getting shot — like they are on the set of a movie and NOBODY is going to REALLY get killed. Oh, yeah, it’s fake ammo.
I almost forgot.

The first time JD gets shot — he grunts, groans and, of course, is back in a 3 piece suit within 30 seconds after cleaning up copious amounts of blood.

I hate to keep comparing. But Bonnie and Clyde has some extremely strong and memorable supporting performances. The supporters here are fine, but underutilized and none stand out.

Finally, we get to the ambush to which we know the film has been building. It is outside of a movie theater. Mind you — I was hoping someone would put a cap in my ass when I walked out of this shitfest.

Ala, Bonnie and Clyde, it is in slow motion. But the suspense is not there.

When I actually did get up to exit the theater — I was thrilled that my legs worked and hadn’t fallen asleep as had most of the neurons in my brain.

Upon exiting — I did give an immediate review from my bladder on the Cineplex wall. If my colon would have cooperated — I would have gladly added some extra punctuation.

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