Sunday, December 27, 2009

Public Enemies

Gangster movies are a tradition of American Cinema. Public Enemies continues in that tradition by depicting the crime life of John Dillinger. The film is an adaptation of Bryan Burrough's book Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-43 has a wonderful trailer that makes this film appear to be a great biopic of Dillinger. However, the film falls short in that it's narrative flows in a choppy fashion that fails to fully engage the viewer.

The love story between Dillinger and Billie Frechette is possibly the only engaging point in the film as we watch the hardened criminal show a softer side as he attempts to look after the love of his life. From the first moment when he is dancing with her and very evasive on what he does for a living to chasing off the coat check patron who is being abusive to Billie, Dillinger shows a side that is in contrast to his violent criminal life.

Public Enemies attempt to tell such a complex story as Dillinger's is flawed in that it's story seems just a portrayal of disconnected and random events leading up to Dillinger's demise. This is the gamble whenever adapting from an existing work. Choices must be made in what to keep and what to cut and it seems Public Enemies may have made the wrong choices.

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