Saturday, July 4, 2009

Shoot 'em Up

Yesterday I took a bold step out of the realm of romantic comedies and went to see Public Enemies. The plan mainly unfolded because of my pounding craving for overpriced and underwhelming movie food. Yes, I am one of the few that, despite all logic and understanding, craves concession nachos. I don’t know what it is about the slightly stale chips, the prepackaged salsa, or the molten cheese-like goo, but I looked forward to it all day.

The movie received favorable reviews after opening this past Wednesday (July 1st) and in comparison with the other flicks currently showing, it was the clear choice for a night out at the multiplex. Public Enemies tells the tale of the real life 1930s gangster John Dillinger and his life of oozies, thugs, and being chased by the popo. Unlike other mobster movies, this one did not leave me with the urge to grab some henchman and start sticking it to the Man.

The dialogue was minimal and often poorly delivered by Depp’s costars. While most people are infatuated with Johnny Depp’s French love interest Billie Frechette (played by Marion Cotillard), I only found her acting convincing when it didn’t involve any lines. The ultimate kryptonite for this film was not one of the main actors but rather a minor police agent role played by Adam Mucci. This newcomer visually resembles an oversized finger puppet and acts accordingly. He played the role of Agent Harold Reineck who not only makes repeated catastrophic mistakes without getting fired but was also simply ridiculous to watch and impossible to take seriously. Like any glitzy Hollywood flick, Public Enemies is sprinkled with oddly placed B-level cameos. Right when you start believing that this big budget Hollywood rendition might resemble the dirty thirties, prepare yourself for Channing Tatum or Leelee Sobieski to pop into the shot.

The film is well done but over the top with repetitious gun battles and awkward Blair Witch style filming. Though the story centers around the gangster style of the thirties, it is also about the rapid evolution of technology in the early 1900s and how changing laws and high tech equipment changed the face of crime. It was the first time that they were able to tap phone lines and access vast amounts of information from across the nation. In essence, it was the beginning of the end of privacy.

I left the film feeling conflicted as to whether I enjoyed the 2.5 bum-numbing hours that I devoted to this movie. While in pursuit of a final verdict, I was distracted by the heart palpations and cold sweats induced by my earlier consumption of movie nachos. Public Enemies is much like the florescent yellow ‘cheese’ that they pump out at the concession stand; it is questionable in taste but ultimately decent for a Friday night out.

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