Execution Without Conviction
July 08, 2009
On a Wednesday night in San Francisco, opening night, in a theater no more than half full, the truth was as inescapable as rain at a picnic. Johnny Depp just wasn’t cutting it. He wasn’t even making the attempt. Once again, Michael Mann had poured his nearly liquid talent over a gangster picture without ever thinking to ask himself why. That oddly vague title Public Enemies--why isn’t it called Johnny D. or just Dillinger?--was turning into a startlingly detached and affectless movie.
The Movie Review: 'Public Enemies'
July 02, 2009
It's taken countless hours of TV crime-drama ("Crime Story," "Miami Vice") and nearly a dozen feature films (Heat, Collateral, Miami Vice again), but in John Dillinger, Michael Mann may finally have found an ideal vessel for his particular vision of masculine cool: stylish, charismatic, unflappable, adept at violence but not hungry for it. After spending nine years in prison for his rookie robbery (a grocery-store heist that allegedly netted him $50), Dillinger emerged in May 1933 to launch perhaps the most storied crime spree in American history.
Dillinger Puts On A Show
July 02, 2009
With the new John Dillinger biopic out, we decided to pull up a TNR article from 1934 about the legendary bank robber: Two of the bandits on the outside were gentlemen; one was a tough. He didn't smile at the audience. He scowled. He pushed the people aside with the point of his gun. He ordered cars away from the parking place in front of the bank. He knew a lot of words that went with swearing. The other two smiled politely as they officiated. The tear gas finally drove the bandits out. They had taken only $52,000 when they might have got $200,000.