Friday, August 7, 2009
Movies this summer are absolutely horrible. Normally movies that come out in the summertime are top knotch because people are more apt to go out and spend their money in the nice weather. And it's drive in season. Drive in movies have been horrible this season. They are over-populated with children's animation movies or sub-par romantic comedies that aren't worth the money. They aren't even worth watching when it's free on TV. What has happened to movies this summer?
Despite the horrible circumstances, there was actually one movie that did look appealing, so I was able to satisfy my itch to go to the movies. The only movie I felt okay spending my money on was Johnny Depp's new film Public Enemies. I was surprised at how packed the movie theatre was, but I guess I wasn't in the end once I saw what other films were competing with it.
Public Enemies is about the criminal and ganster John Dillinger and his fellow sidekicks Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd. Dillinger started a massive crime wave in the 30s, right after the Great Depression, by robbing banks and killing men who got in his way. However, the public did like him because he only robbed the banks of their money, not the people. When he robbed a bank, he would let those in the bank keep their money; he would not take that with his loot.
At first, Dillinger looked really good at what he was doing. He seemed smooth and slick; robbing banks looked like an easy stroll through the grocery store on a vacant evening. However, his robbing became more and more difficult once the FBI was formed and a special team went in search of capturing him and his men. This team was led by Melvin Purvis, played by Christian Bale, and they tracked Dillinger and his posse until they caught him. Dillinger had to break out of jail a few times, for they couldn't ever really hold him down.
Dillinger hooks up with a nice little girlfriend who he wants to run away with. He keeps needing to get more and more money in order to safely run away and live off of his money for the rest of his life. His jobs get sloppier, and eventually he is separated from his girlfriend once he is imprisoned. They eventually hold her in police custody to lure Dillinger there, but he is shortly killed afterwards.
The killing of Dillinger is quite famous--he is shot in the back once he exits a movie theatre. He was ratted out by an immigrant friend who disclosed Dillinger's location in exchange for her citizenship into the country. He was killed in public which was witnessed by many, many people. I find it lame that they HAD to kill him, and shoot him in the back for that matter. It's just as bad as the Jesse James killing. Such cowardice to shoot someone in the back.
But then, part of me thinks that the movie helped us side with Dillinger. Wasn't he stealing from those who hardly had anything so he could live a lavish lifestyle? Wasn't he a murderer? (Same with Jesse James for that matter) Are we siding with the criminal? Would we if it took place during our present time? So, am I biased to say that Dillinger and James deserved better deaths, to be taken down in a different way? It's not like they would have learned...
Before I saw the movie, I didn't know the outcome, so I was surprised by the ending. After researching it afterwards, apparently Dillinger, his crew, and his murder are quite historic and recognized. Apparently Dillinger was one of the large criminals in the "public enemy era (1931-1935)" which helped create the FBI to try to put a stop to this kind of criminal activity. At least something got the FBI started.
What shocked me in the movie was how public Dillinger was. Even for being a wanted man, he still kept social and was out in public. He went to movies, to dances, out to dinner, anything. He didn't keep a low profile which I think led to his death. If I was being hunted, I would give up pleasures like going to the movies just so I could stay alive. I would think that someone might recognize me in public and would either turn me in or try to kill me. It seems to me that he felt invincible, like no one could ever take him down. That, my friends, is his fatal flaw.
The movie was very interesting and exciting. Especially if someone likes gangster movies and crime movies, this one is good to watch. They did a great job with making everything appear to be in the 1930s from clothing to speech to scenery. I always think it's really cool to watch a movie in such a different time period. It was also cool to see how much crime has changed and how much, maybe parts of it, have stayed the same. Early crime was fascinating to watch and analyze.
However, as I research the film, I didn't realize how many inaccuracies it has. Most of it is true, but a lot of details do not mesh with what actually happened. Here are some notes that are inaccurate about the film (from Wikipedia):
-Dillinger was not present during the Michigan City jail break.
-Dillinger died before Pretty Boy Floyd, Baby Face Nelson, and his other crew members.
-Purvis did not shoot Floyd or Nelson.
-The hearing with J. Edgar Hoover took place years before it did in the film.
-Hoover declared a war on crime before Dillinger and his men started robbing banks, not because of their crime.
-The Texas "cowboys" came in at the very tail end of the investigation because Purvis was deemed incompetent by Hoover.
-The gang stayed at Little Bohemia for weeks, not one night.
-The Little Bohemia ambush was a major fiasco. In the film, Dillinger's men are all killed, but in reality, no one was killed there.
-Billie, Dillinger's girlfriend, was arrested before Little Bohemia, not after.
-Anna Sage, who turned in Dillinger, did not know Dillinger for as long as depicted in the film. She was also not as nice.
-Dillinger did not go into the police department that was hunting him down. He went into another one.
After watching the movie, I also learned that Purvis kills himself later on after finishing this investigation. Hm... I wonder why...
Despite the inaccuracies, the movie was still pretty good and was entertaining. Depp, as always, did a fabulous job. He was the perfect criminal. He made you fall in love with him even though he was the "bad guy." However, I looked up what Dillinger really looked like, and Depp is much better looking than Dillinger. Dillinger was lucky to have such a suave guy play him in a movie. Check out the two pictures compared below.
So what do you think of Public Enemies?