Johnny Depp is the legendary outlaw John Dillinger in Michael Mann’s latest film Public Enemies, the infamous real life bank robber whose lightning raids made him the number one target of J.Edgar Hoover’s fledging FBI during the Depression Era. Playing his arch nemesis is Christian Bale, the top FBI agent Melvin Purvis, also known as the “Clark Gable of the FBI” for his good looks, with Billy Crudup (Watchmen) and Academy award winning French actress Marion Cotillard rounding up the cast.
The trailer is looking great so far, ( catch the HD version on apple.com/trailers ) enough at least to get me excited all over again after Mann’s previous (and not so fantastic) Miami Vice. Below are some screencaps from the HD trailer.
With its somewhat similar setting and backdrop Public Enemies reminds me of Sam Mendes’s moody “Road To Perdition” (below), one of Paul Newman’s last films. I had intended to write about Perdition and my love for the film’s stunning photography shortly after Newman’s passing, but never got around to it. Go here to read a most insightful article on the film’s cinematography, shot by the late Conrad Hall.
One notable technical difference between the two films is that Michael Mann (and the DP Dante Spinotti ) has opted once again to shoot with the Viper HD camera, (this might be more apparent only on the HD trailer), just like his two previous films Collateral and Miami Vice, with some shots looking distinctively video-like in movement and color. Perhaps the director’s intention is to instill a more personal, first person experience, allowing the events taking place on the screen to have a sense of spontaneity, rather than the polished, observer feel of 35mm film. That said, I personally still prefer the more romantic feel of good look film.
I’ve been a big fan of director Michael Mann’s films ever since The Insider and Heat, the latter a masterpiece of the crime genre in my opinion. I’ve watched and rewatched the film countless times, especially the electrifying Pacino/DeNiro restaurant scene; and here you have it below – the wonders of YouTube ! Enjoy !
This is but one of the highlights of the show; if you’ve seen the movie you will no doubt spot the numerous influences Heat had on films of the genre, notably Hong Kong’s Infernal Affairs, and more recently Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight.
Thoughts on Public Enemies/any Michael Mann fans out there ?