Lex Petros: Public Enemies

Friday, July 31, 2009

Public Enemies

This is actually a chick flick, so says Gregory Ling anyway... Apart from how to handle a Thompson machine gun and how to rob banks with them in the 1930s during the Great Depression, this was really a love story... and after watching, I have to agree with him... I will come to that later.

Needless to say, the movie was set on jailbreaks, guns, robberies, fast cars and women and getaways... for you gangster movie aficionados, this flick is worth every penny!

and Nams had the pleasure of our company (thanks girls! and looked smashing that night...) Siva had canceled on short notice and I managed to convince Greg (with little effort) to come along.

America's first declaration of war against crime. We all know what happened (for those of us who bother a little about American history). The Feds try to take down notorious American gangsters John Dillinger (Johnny Depp), Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd. J. Edgar Hoover (Billy Crudup) and his administration were up against one of history's most notorious criminals. Of course, the Feds had tactics and forensic wit to track these men down, but not without losing a few agents in the process. Just like cannon fodder ala 'red shirt guys' on Star Trek.

The Feds' main man is Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale). As Hoover's man for the job, he led the manhunt that tracked down Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd. Needless to say, his ultimate target was Dillinger. I thought Bale did a very good New York accent and the relentless agent on a mission. The neatly pressed suit and the immaculate stature was so F.B.I.-ish. Just the man to do the job! Classic manhunt persona.

Coming back to the chick flick theory. Dillinger had his "goil", Evelyn "Billie" Frechette (Marion Cotillard) a singer, waitress and (not surprisingly) a convict. I couldn't help myself laughing having to Dillinger's response to Billie's retort that she didn't know anything about Dillinger:

"I was raised on a farm in Morrisville, Indiana. My mama ran out on us when I was three, my daddy beat the hell out of me cause he didn't know no better way to raise me. I like baseball, movies, good clothes, fast cars, whiskey, and you... what else you need to know? "

Long story short, Dillinger's acquaintance gave him away. He was a theater when the Feds homed in on him. He walks out, got ambushed by the Feds, agents opened fired and he was shot in the back of the head. According to records, he died instantly, but true to silver screen drama, Charles Winstead, the agent who delivered the fatal bullet put his ear next to Dillinger's mouth as he was dying and got up. Purvis asked Winstead what Dillinger said and Winstead said he couldn't hear him. The final scene was Winstead visiting Billie in jail...

Billie: They say you're the man who shot him.
Winstead: That's right. One of 'em.
Billie: So why are you coming to see me? To see the damage you done?
Winstead: No. I came here because he asked me to. When he went down, he said somethin'. I put my ear next to his mouth, and what I think he said was this. He said, 'Tell Billie for me: Bye bye, Blackbird.'

Then Billie starts crying...

Nice ending. Poetic.


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