Friday, November 27, 2009

Public Enemies (2009)

What made me want to watch Public Enemies in the first place was its poster. Johnny Depp was dressed like Jef Costello in Le samouraï. I always like how Jean-Pierre Melville dressed his characters, and in Public Enemies, John Dillinger (Depp) has a good taste in clothes. There is a scene in this movie where Dillinger caresses the tip of his fedora, just like Jef's specific gesture.

After a hard childhood, young Dillinger is sent to jail for a petty robbery. There he meets criminals who teach him how to rob banks. He becomes America's Public Enemy #1 and is wanted most by J. Edgar Hoover. The movie is filled with bank robbery scenes and cat-mouse games. The team who is after Dillinger is led by Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale), who is famous after killing Pretty Boy Floyd. My favourite in the team is experienced Agent Winstead, played by Stephen Lang, who gives Purvis useful advices. The chase only succeeds after Dillinger has been betrayed.

Marion Cotillard plays Billie, Dillinger's girlfriend. She is so beautiful here, very different from when she was playing Edith Piaf. There is a scene where she is being tortured by one of the Feds, which makes me wonder, is or was this the American way to carry out justice or am I watching a WW2 movie in a Nazi HQ scene.

Could it be that a public enemy more loved by the people? When Dillinger is transferred to Indiana, he is greeted like a great celebrity. Reporters and people wait for him and they are dying to know about his childhood, for instance. Dillinger is also arrogant, doesn't hesitate to challenge the police, and in this case: Federal agents. He promises his girl he will fetch her, even though he knows her phone has been tapped and she is under 24-h watch. He even walks into the Chicago Police HQ in a plain day, does a tour and asks for the game's score. His death scene is a mess and his beautiful face is ruined. Of course in today's movies blood is neccessary to satisfy the audience, but I prefer how Jean-Pierre Melville 'killed' his heroes.

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