Dork vs. Dork: Public Enemies
Myah! You’ll never take Capt. Jack Sparrow alive, Batman! Never, ya hear me! Myah!
By Glenn Given email@example.com & Dan Szczesny firstname.lastname@example.org
Oh, hello, Public Enemies, I liked you better when you were called Heat. Does Michael Mann seriously think he can rehash the De Niro/Pacino avant-crime thriller that put him on the map just by hurling his one notable concept into the 1930s? I have a certain respect for the looney-tunes career of Depp, though this and his last few projects have replaced the entrancing acting ability that brought him out of the Greico/DeLuise slums of 21 Jump Street with funny hats, weird hair and a thousand-yard crazy eye. Sadly Public Enemies is just another hackneyed step in by-the-numbers action steadily taking Depp away from meaningful parts. And Bale? Take stock, readers: what was the last Bale performance that displayed any depth other than his range of grunted primadonna expletives? The Machinist? Show of hands, how many here have actually seen that? I thought as much. Pacino and DeNiro these two are not, and while a slow simmering tension between two of the best actors of the last 40 years kept me rapt though Heat, two hours of Grunty FBI Lawyer chasing Weirdo in Pinstripes doesn’t hold a candle. Mann has misstepped, as he did so fabulously with Miami Vice, in thinking he can simply plug any two actors into any time or place, tell them they hate each other, and shout “action.” — Glenn Given
Oh really? Heat? You’re getting soft. Is that the one where Raging Bull and Col. Frank Slade play, um, De Niro and Pacino? Honestly, wouldn’t that movie have been scads better if everyone were wearing pinstripes and driving 1934 Chevy Master Coupes? If you can’t find inspiration in a chopper squad of flogger-wearing droppers throwing lead at a bunch of coppers, then you’re clearly looking for some chin music here, son.
There’s no debate here. Johnny Depp is playing John Dillinger, directed by Michael Mann. Where do I buy my ticket? If there’s one thing that all these men were/are good at it’s gun fightin’ and gun fightin’ is what this depression-era shoot-fest is going to be about. In all the brew-ha-ha recently about pirates, robots and zombies, we have been sorely short on gangsters, and Public Enemies will fill that gap nicely thank you. Honestly, you could cast Johnny Depp as Sponge Bob Square Pants and the movie could win an Oscar. (Don’t even think about it, it’s my idea!) But surround him with fedoras and overcoats and tommy guns, give him an obsessive G-man played by Batman and get the guy who made Tom Cruise a bad-ass to direct the whole she-bang and you have bloody gold!
If that weren’t enough, the core of the movie — the Ahab-like pursuit of Dillinger by FBI guy Melvin Pervis — is based on a hell of a true crime book by Bryan Burroughs. There’s so much that fits in this project, my friends, that no amount of Megan Fox cleavage, Will Ferrell hairy stomach or even terminators, can give this movie a lead overcoat. — Dan Szczesny
Just because you’re old enough to have witnessed the exploits of John Dillinger doesn’t make this a story worth telling, again and again. While the second fiddle to Bonnie and Clyde’s Depression-era antics does involve a personal rivalry with a transvestite superhero (Hoover) the story itself peters out to a lame conclusion. And oooh the drama of being chased by a glorified acocuntant named Melvin. No wonder you like this concept so much. Old nerds overcome the sad truth of their life to briefly appear cool before getting shot in the face. Dillinger or Szczesny, you decide.