Public Enemies reminded me in an odd way of the final Secret movie. It’s a flawlessly crafted film, but missing that ephemeral bit of something needed to get me in the gut, to tip me over from admiration into love. Both beautifully shot, sets designed in loving detail, wonderfully acted, but there’s a note of passion, something in the heart missing. For Public Enemies, Roger Ebert thinks it’s the ‘why’ of Dillinger, which I think is a good call.
That isn’t to say I wasn’t engaged. When it ended, a fellow behind us said something to the effect of, “that isn’t as relaxing as I thought it would be”, and I had to laugh. I mean, who thinks a film on Dillinger is going to be relaxing? But it did have me more tense than I expected, even though I knew how the story would end.
On a superficial note, it is the first film in a long time (I think since Finding Neverland, but as I never saw that I’m only guessing) where Depp was not buried under the trappings of a character. I mean, think about it. Three Pirates movies. Sweeney Todd. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. And even coming up, with Alice , his Mad Hatter the most grotesque of all his recent incarnations. It is, frankly, something of a treat to see him cleaned up a bit in well-cut suits. And appropriate, as Dillinger *was* a celebrity.