Monday, February 15, 2010

Weekend Viewing - Feb 12-14 (part 1)

Public Enemies [2009, directed by Michael Mann]

The story of the FBI’s hunt for John Dillinger.

My problem with this film is the stop-n-go narrative – the characters were mostly unsympathetic and unlikable – and no discernable theme or insight that makes you stand up and enjoy the film on anything other than a base level.

What I did like was Dillinger’s girl, Billie – she was really the only likable character and the one you wanted to see her storyline come to a satisfactory conclusion. The action and gun fights were very good – and the locations were especially nice (one of them was a block away from my grandfather’s house). Yet, a sloppy story, sloppy direction and virtually no characters to care about make me give this a generous 3 out of 5.

Man Bites Dog [1992, directed by Remy Belavaux, Andre Bonzel & Benoit Poelvoorde]

A documentary film crew follows a charismatic yet unrepentant serial killer on his murder sprees.

This film firmly evokes disgust while shining a light on how the media often will promote and somewhat glorify the villains in society. It is a very effective and thought provoking critic on how we as a society lose focus on what’s really important when it comes to violent crimes. Often the main focus is on who’s doing these crimes – the Jeffery Dahmer’s, Ted Bundy’s, Ed Gein’s all get movies/documentaries made about their exploits and their victims are footnotes just like this film. We see the killer’s crimes in this film so much – and know so much about him – yet we know nothing about the victims. I give this film a solid 4 out of 5.


  1. I dug ENEMIES, but thought I would love it a lot more. I think the biggest thing holding it back is how subtle Depp plays the part. It seems like they only let him off the chain once or twice.

  2. I wanted to like it more than I actually did too, Hats. You're dead right - the biggest issue was seemed to be a lack of the usual Depp charisma - there were glimpses of it - and maybe the role didn't call for it - but something to give you a side to root for/relate to would've been nice.