Public Enemies Movie Too Close To Reality

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Opinion by Dolores M. Bernal, NEWS JUNKIE POST

The movie “Public Enemies,” starring Johnny Depp, may go down in history as having the most intense shooting rampage scene of all time. Never in my movie going life have I ever seen such a display of gun shooting violence that was so realistic, you felt that you needed to duck under the seat and take cover.

Public Enemies tells the real life story of how the FBI pursued to capture the notorious bank robber, John Dillinger. The film also shows a little bit of the history of J. Edgar Hoover’s struggles to establish the Federal Bureau of Investigation as the agency that the U.S. “needed” so desperately to capture the violent criminals that lived in the early 1930’s.

But aside from the insightful moments of history about how the FBI came to get its reputation of “shoot now, ask questions later,” the movie itself is making history by how meticulously it integrated reality-video with old fashion filmmaking. We’re not talking about the Blair Witch Project here, but something much more sophisticated and visually stimulating that could possibly transform the experience of movie goers for generations to come.

Director Michael Mann has presented us in the past with films such as “Heat” and “Collateral,” which had a very distinct feel and look than the traditional movies we’re more used to seeing. The shaky camera effect, the scenes shot from odd angles, the video-like look which makes you think you’re watching an episode of COPS, all those things worked perfectly in Public Enemies.

But having too much of a realistic feel is not necessarily something I like. The shooting scene that takes place when the FBI sneaks up on one of Dillinger’s hiding spots at a secluded hotel surrounded by thick forest during the middle of the night, was not only too realistic in how it looked and how it sounded, but it was also quite disturbing. So disturbing, that it made me wonder, how real do movies really need to feel?

I remember when the first Mortal Combat video game came out back in the 1990’s. Parents were outraged at how realistic the fighting looked; they were worried that their children would be traumatized by the gore. Grand Theft Auto was also quite controversial for its realistic portrayal of gang life and activity, which could be experienced so vividly by the player. Video games had officially evolved from Pac-Man chasing little blue ghosts, to hoodlums driving around South Central smacking prostitutes. And now it’s happening to movies. Have we, as the X and Y generation come to expect no less than reality-like violence and action from video games and movies? Is this what we have evolved to from the days of the Wizard of Oz and even E.T.?

Perhaps as I’m approaching my mid-30’s I’m losing the stomach I used to have to handle movies like Public Enemies. Maybe. I mean, I was really glad when the movie had the calm, slow scenes that captured the essence of bad-boy John Dillinger and the innocence of his lover, Billie Frechette, played by actress Marion Cotillard. That was cool with me.

I’m just concerned, I guess. I’m concerned that film directors may see the success of this movie and feel like they too need to inject even more realistic-looking scenes of violence in order to captivate audiences. And let’s face it, I was glued to the screen watching the guns go off and bullet holes on people’s bodies, but frankly, at the end of the movie, we were so traumatized that instead of talking about it with my friends, we all just kinda wanted to forget about it.

Public Enemies Trailer

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One Response to Public Enemies Movie Too Close To Reality

  1. Vote -1 Vote +1Maureen L
    July 2, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    Great review. I want to go see this movie so badddd!

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