Τετάρτη, 21 Οκτωβρίου 2009

PUBLIC ENEMIES (2009, MICHAEL MANN)



And what looked like it was gonna be another slick overbudgeted gangster movie glorifying a bunch of cutthroats turned out to be unexpectedly great in the hands of Michael Mann. I was never a big fan of his work (I think Heat is merely okay) but this stylized DV-noir bliss, the best use of the medium I've seen, not as a substitute for film but as a canvas of its own, since Inland Empire. The plotting is minimal and the romance between Depp and Cotillard mostly by-the-numbers, and both Depp and Bale unremarkable in their roles, but the moody hyperrealism of hand-held shots and hard lighting, the movie swinging between golden browns and yellows and drab blue grays, underscores a brilliant contradiction/complimenting between Depression-era mythologizing and gritty docu-crime. But for a few details, the movie could be taking place in the 00's. The Japanese term for the new breed of docu-realistic yakuza pictures that replaced the traditional/romanticized ones in the 70's was jitsuroku, which means 'true account'. I don't know (nor do I care much) about the actual historical details of Dillinger's case and how close Public Enemies adheres to them, but the term applies here. It feels like a 'true account' crime movie, gritty and violent, which at the same time doesn't fail to present Dillinger in the bittersweet afterglow of the antihero, of the rebel who did things his way and never backed down. Whether or not Mann falters in this display of sentimentality and how much Depp's puppydog face makes that inescapable is up for debate I guess, but the gunfights are an absolute (literal) blast, a curious mixture of stylized and raw, and the scene in the theater playing a 30's gangster movie where Clark Gable on the big screen seems to speak to and for Dillinger and the way Mann cuts it together is a minor triumph. In the end I like Public Enemies because it's closer in heart and tone to the moody low-key noir of The Driver than the swinging glamour of Goodfellas.


8/10

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