05 January 2011

Movie Adaptations: Public Enemies

By Lorelie Brown

My husband and I don't go out together by ourselves that often. I know date night is supposed to be the thing, but we're homebodies. We're way more likely to play a game of Monopoly together than go out for dinner and a movie. But when I first saw a trailer for Public Enemies, I looked at my husband without saying a word. He immediately nodded. "We'll go, we'll go."

Darn skippy we did. (Don’t we sound all Ward and June Cleaver-like. Heh.)

But really, just look at that trailer.

Doesn't it make inappropriate places on ya warm?

There was no way I was missing Johnny Depp as the charismatic, fast-talking bank robber John Dillinger. I'd just spent the previous two years studying the Prohibition Era to write JAZZ BABY. Dillinger was the poster-boy for the era, in a way. Yes, he was a bank robber, but he intentionally cultivated a Robin Hood sort of persona, which bought him plenty of press time and plenty of love from most of America. Except J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the relatively new FBI.

Hoover declared Dillinger a public enemy--which is where Marvin Purvis comes in. Played by Christian Bale in the movie, Purvis was the FBI agent who led the manhunt for quite a few various public enemies. Oh, and that's the main thrust of the movie--will Purvis get his man or will Dillinger escape?

So probably unsurprisingly, the movie was missing an element of tension for me. I already knew what was going to happen, unless they took really big liberties with history. (And then that'd tick me off.)

Does that keep Public Enemies from being a good movie? Nope. Not at all. Depp's got the amazing charismatic presence needed to pull off being Dillinger and there's danger and excitement abounding. Even a romantic thread with Dillinger's long-time girlfriend, Billie Frechette. And the costumes are just bloody awesome. (I have a weak spot for men in fedoras. It's the truth.) The movie's pretty much accurate. In fact, at the scene with the wooden gun they soften up history because Dillinger would seem too insanely awesome otherwise.

Oh, and I know certain people who'll be happy to hear this one--Channing Tatum is in it too! Well, he dies early. And bloodily. Christian Bale kills him in one of the most memorable scenes of the movie.

I give up. Go rent the movie. It'll be in the cheap bins at this point, so it'll be really impossible to regret. And I'll stop pretending I can put together a logical post today. My debut book is available in paper as of yesterday! Can you believe it? All the last hold-outs of my family, the ones who doubt I'm an author because they couldn't hold a paper copy? They have to suck it. Heh.

Lorelie Brown's first book, JAZZ BABY, is currently available from Samhain Publishing in both e-book and paperback formats. Her second romance, an 1880s-set western, will be published by Carina Press in Summer 2011.


Delia DeLeest said...

Congrats on becoming a hard copy. There's nothing like the thrill of holding YOUR book, YOUR words in your hands, is there?

And men in fedoras? The most unsexy man in the world automatically goes up a few points, just by putting one of those babies on his head. I think hats should be required menswear again, the world would be a better place...and much more fun to look at. I think I write in the 1920's just so I can put one of those babe magnets on my hero's head.

Blythe Gifford said...

True Trivia: The real Biograph Theatre in Chicago was used in shooting the movie. They redressed the entire block. That theatre is still in use, but now as "legitimate theatre," not a movie house. It's the home of Victory Gardens theatre, nationally reoognized, which is a "playwrights theatre," specializing in new work and Chicago premieres. They ran the movie trailer in the lobby when the film came out! (I'm a subscriber, so I'm there regularly.)

limecello said...

Yay! Congratulations on your book being out in print! Also - I loved Public Enemies too. I started watching the commentary - sadly didn't get to finish it - and it made the film even better. Obviously I also loved the hot super star cast :D

librarypat said...

I have often wondered why outlaws become folk heroes. Many really are nothing but blood thirsty thugs. They killed people and took their property. Somehow the image of the little guy winning against the system seems to intrude and soften the image.
Thanks for the post and the movie review. Your "date nights' sound a lot like ours.