Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bang!

Robert here.

75 years ago today John Dillinger was shot dead. And it seems like just as long since Public Enemies has been in the headlines. The Summer movie season giveth and the Summer movie season taketh away.... and fast!

Personally I thought the movie suffered from being far too short. I know it was almost two and a half hours, but it was two and a half hours of plot, plot, plot, plot. A few scenes of character development could have given all that plot some context. It would have been nice to have felt something when Dillinger was killed or understand why exactly he and Billie were in love (as my fiancee said, "he's cool and she's pretty... what more do you need to know?").

At the time of Public Enemies' release, we were all a-buzz with the news of Oscar's 10 Best Picture expansion and the film's middling to mixed reviews hardly seemed like they could derail it. But now that the movie is already a distant memory, are its Oscar chances as dead as Dillinger?

19 comments:

Henry said...

I think the middling reviews did kill its Oscar chances. Maybe a token nomination for cinematography or sound if the AMPAS remembers the film come Oscar season.

That's what I'm a little worried about with the rules change to ten nominees for Best Picture: the AMPAS rewarding an average film that's technically brilliant, but lacks in the other areas (acting, plot, writing, etc.) I think Public Enemies falls into that category.

mrripley said...

yes.i liked cotillard though and never begrudgged her oscar win.i just feel she is a new juliette binoche.

adelutza said...

I don't think that Public Enemies was going to be in contention even if the reviews weren't mixed. I still think that Johnny Depp is pretty much in, but we'll see what else is going to come our way.

Jane said...

I was so disappointed with this film. It was beautiful but boring. No character depth at all. I like Depp as much as the next guy but he was not interesting in this film. He is better in quirky roles. The love story also lacked sparks. And Christian Bale, who is obviously a talented actor based on much of his past work, was dull as dirt.

BLH said...

I thought there was great deal of character development. It just wasn't in the form of dialogue.

Henry said...

I thought there was great deal of character development. It just wasn't in the form of dialogue.

So how was character development achieved in that film? By facial expressions only? Shooting a Tommy Gun over and over? That scene at the traffic light, did Depp and the other actors darting their eyes to everything constitute credible "character development"? At some point, the dialogue has to step in and fill in the blanks. I mean, Depp turning his head side to side to look for anyone who might recognize Dillinger in the middle of the theater tells me WHAT about Dillinger, the character?

BLH said...

The blanks? That's a pretty defeatist perspective on cinema you've got there.

What better way is there to learn about a character than to watch him work through the events that give his life meaning?

I can't imagine walking out of Public Enemies thinking that the film would have been improved through a greater focus on identifying character motivation via explicit, reductive psychology.

Wayne B. said...

I could still see the DVD release in the wintertime giving the movie's awards buzz a boost... something tells me it's not to be counted out yet.

Clement said...

This movie has no business stealing Oscar attention.

It was an admirable effort, that feel quite short. Several of you have hit the nail on the coffin - especially with too much plot/storytelling and not enough dialogue and character development - on why this isn't an Oscar movie.

Depp is not a shoe-in, not should he be. It was an above average performance, but nothing near Oscar-worthy.

Let's hope they don't waste a nomination, even if there are now 5 too many, on this above-average (yet nowhere near Best Picture) film.

chris na Taraja said...

It was like watching a ballet with out music. Technically beautiful, but not very moving.

Jake said...

I thought Cotillard made more of the role than there was - I wish she had more of a chance, but I have a feeling she'll get forgotten. Too bad.

Glenn Dunks said...

Considering at least a few of the titles everyone thinks will be big hitters fall flat on their faces, I'm sure there will be a Oscar campaign for Public Enemies, just waiting for steal a spot on the ten.

Actionman said...

best movie of the year so far

Donny said...

I liked "Public Enemies", so I was sad to see the reception it got. But whatever, no boatload of box office money or Oscar nominations will dampen my enjoyment and admiration of the film.

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