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Mark Kermode | 17:00 UK time, Tuesday, 14 July 2009

So now you've had a chance to check out Sacha's Brüno and Johnny's Dillinger, it seems a few of you have opinions of your own, and some of them are really rather good.

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  • Comment number 1.

    In relation to Public Enemies, as time has passed I have mentally gone over what I think is wrong with the film. All that Mark Kermode has said in relation to the film I agree with but looking over it now I think the problem comes from two main areas: that of the director and that of the script.
    In relation to the script it is ok, nothing really to complain about and in relation to Mr. Mann, he is one of my all time favourite directors. As separate entities they are fine but when you combine both, it has become problematic. As we know from Mr. Manns previous works his work centres around finding the grey area between lawful activities and unlawful activities and this will be characterised between two male characters. However, there is nowhere in the script of Public Enemies that really allows for this to be seen and yet we know that Mr. Mann has tried to sandwich this theme into the movie but as the script does not develop this it feels forced and undeveloped. For example, I feel that the scene where Dillinger is incarcerated and a conversation occurs between him and Purvis it is meant to convey the same meaning between Pacino and De Niro in Heat (Coffee shop scene) and yet the script does not contain such a feel and the direction is at odds. Also, Im not sure if it is historically accurate (I doubt that it is) but nearing the end of the film where Dillinger enters the Police Station and walks around the office where Purviv and his fellow colleagues have been studying him I felt it was supposed to convey a feeling that Dillinger is finally learning about his adversary as Purviv has learned about his and so the comparison is complete and we can move to the final show-down and yet once again, everything is at odds with one another.
    Simply put, the material of Public Enemies is not the usual thing that one would expect from Mr. Mann and this is not the problem. What is a problem however is that Mr. Mann has approached Public Enemies like he did with Heat and unfortunately has made a movie that does not feel complete. There are other issues with this film and it was something of a disappointment but nevertheless it is one of the best releases of 2009 (but there have been better).

  • Comment number 2.

    Thanks for reading out my comment Dr K! You may very well be right, but then again I'm pretty surprised at the general backlash which is slowy rising against Sacha Baron Cohen over Bruno. So, I was just sayin'....

  • Comment number 3.

    p.s. TOTALLY agree about Bono and Chris Martin. WRONG.

  • Comment number 4.

    Sacha Baron Cohen/Brüno was on the Howard Stern show on monday and he alluded (in character) that it was the studio that had made the edit.

  • Comment number 5.

    I couldn't comment on your post on Bruno. All i can say is i will rent it at some point, laugh a few times, never hear from it again and never feel as though my time had been wasted either... I simply could not comment on the film or your opinion on the film, as there is absolutely nothing to say. But as for Public Enemies, you know full well what i think. Johnny Depp, being the pop-culture parasite that he is, has infected the film with his poisonous smirk and his painfully annoying fans that surround him like a fog of irk. Public Enemies could of been a half decent film, but there is no way i can sit through a film with that cretin in it. I don't care who directed the damn film, i just cant physically stand him.

  • Comment number 6.

    in relation to the article mentioned, i haven't read it, but surely the guy who wrote it realises that there's a big difference between an investigator of homicide and the kind of policeman who deals with people who have been mugged?

  • Comment number 7.

    Thompson's critque of Mann's thesis of cop and thief being the same is slightly misguided. I'm pretty sure Mann is aware of the differences between cops and criminals. The differences and conflict between cops and criminals has been done to death throughout the history of cinema.

    With Heat Mann was trying to do something new. What I think Mann is exploring in Heat are the common human forces that drive both cops and criminals, and how social environments condition the morality of their actions. Mann is interested in these shared human impulses and drives that leads these exteme characters towards sociopathic behaviour.

    I'm still not too sure what Mann is trying to say with Public Enemies but my first instinct is to think that he's not really repeating his Heat thesis.

    Generally I think Mann is spreading himself a bit too thinly in this film. Stronger characterisation and a more focused narrative would have engaged the viewer a bit more with the themes of the movie. The story is a bit repetetive, with Dillinger breaking out of jail and getting caught a bit too often.

    I'd put it on a par with Collateral and Miami Vice, where characterisation and story take a back seat to atmosphere, visuals and mood.

    It's definitely not as good as Last of the Mohicans, Heat or the Insider, which is probably his best film.

    As for the digital look, I liked it. It gave it an immediacy to it and I really respect Mann's attempts at breaking new ground. However when the camera moved across, it was a bit jarring and took you out of the film.

  • Comment number 8.

    What did Dr K mean by the sledge/he's a girl/she's a ghost comment???

  • Comment number 9.

    Hi PBothason

    In response to that particular letter where the good Dr didn't feel that he was giving away a major plot point for the film Bruno, he then gives away 3 major plot points - it's a sledge, he's a girl, she's a ghost - for 3 films, obviously without saying what those films are. I'm not going to tell you what they are and hopefully no one else will either.

    Regards :-)

  • Comment number 10.

    OK, Finally figured it out. He mixed up the last two which confused me a bit. And the first is a film I only watched about a month ago but it didn't occur to me. I can sleep now...

  • Comment number 11.

    Thanks Dr K :)

  • Comment number 12.

    Brothers Grimm is underrated... fact, great fun romp, better than Holy Grail and Jabberwocky, it's a mess but a damn fun mess.

  • Comment number 13.

    Citizen Caine, The Crying Gam,e The Others, or maybe another film where the central character is dead already like The sixth sense.. oh fimbles.

    Quick thought, Harry Potter, it is a shame when books with such strong character and narrative are handled in such a way to make them virtually incomprehensible to those who have not read the books. They turn in to just a trailer for the book, with a fanboy pleasing reference to something that they don't have time to cover in every other scene. Still, this one was better than the last, at least they managed scenes of dialogue that lasted more than 40 seconds, and don't even get me started on The Golden Compass. Oh Jackson, where are you when we need you? And Gambon's Heart is not in it, you can just tell.

  • Comment number 14.

    One more thought. Michael Mann. People seem to regard him rather highly, but I find it almost impossible to talk serioulsy about the man who made Miami Vice. I mean yeah Heat. But... Miami Vice?... Miami Vice!

  • Comment number 15.

    Ok one more, With regard to the spoilers, if you subscribe to the Mark Kermode blog and read this forum you should know already, so no complaining.

  • Comment number 16.

    It's a sledge, SHE's a guy, HE's a ghost, it's a clone

  • Comment number 17.

    She's an android and so's he, or maybe not.

  • Comment number 18.

    In a world where Star Trek is getting critical acclaim (shame on you Dr K) no one has any right to slate Miami Vice. It's stylish, engrossing, moody, intelligent and exciting. Personally, it was one of the movies of the year. What it wasn't was the dumb, loud, tongue in cheek action pic that most people were expecting.

  • Comment number 19.

    A bit of a tangent, but I must admit to a certain curiosity, and I suppose that this is as good a place as any to put the question since it's in one of your response blogs: how is that restoration of Exorcist III: Legion coming along? I must admit that while it feels like a pipe dream, it seems and interesting one.


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