Wanted by the FBI
Aliases: The Untouchables (1987), Bugsy (1991), Bonny and Clyde (1967), Dick Tracy (1990), The Dark Knight (2008)
Age: A couple of days, released July 1, 2009, in theaters all over the world (may already be illegally available for download on some Internet video sharing sites)
Cast: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Billy Crudup, Marion Cotillard
Public Enemies contains scenes and storylines that are lifted from many other “cops-and-robbers” films of the past, including bad guys as heroes, bumbling and egotistical cops, ruthless and out-of-control gang members, romance with a work-a-day beauty who is intrigued by the charismatic bad-guy leader but knows little to nothing about him, narrow escapes and big set piece shoot-outs.
PUBLIC ENEMIES IS WANTED IN CONNECTION WITH THE CINEMATIC CRIME OF MISCASTING AND MAKING CRIMINALS, BANK ROBBERS AND MURDERERS INTO EXCITING SUPERHEROES AND THUS SHOULD BE CONSIDERED EXTREMELY DANGEROUS.
A FBI (Film Bloviation Investigators) warrant was issued on July 1, 2009, in Denver, Colorado, charging this film with miscasting an elegantly slight and charmingly winsome actor (Depp) in the role of a scruffy and blue-collar ruffian named John Dillinger (Title 18, FBI Code, Section 563). The opulent look of the film (even during the Great Depression) also conspires to interfere with the experience of gritty criminal reality (Title 18, FBI Code, Section 198). A warrant was also issued for the raft of “cops-and-robbers” film clichés (such as street thugs being outmaneuvered by organized crime syndicates, a star-struck news media, cops mired in bureaucracy and eccentric superiors (e.g. J. Edgar Hoover)) violating the FBI code of cinematic impersonation (Title 18, FBI Code, Section 15). A further violation was found in that the film fails to explain Dillinger’s motivations (Title 18, FBI Code, Section 231), nor does it provide a clear message or explain how it adds to the “cops-and-robbers” film genre, which all conspire to produce a sense of overbearing archness and rote superficiality.
IF YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION CONCERNING THIS FILM, PLEASE NOTIFY THE FBI OF ANY OTHER CINEMATIC TRANSGRESSIONS YOU MAY HAVE WITNESSED. CONTACT INFO IS LISTED ON MASTHEAD.
Doug Young is The Statesman’s outstanding film critic. He works for Sen. Mark Udall. In 2008, he won first prize for humorous writing in the Colorado Press Association’s annual contest, where he received a 100 percent score for his film reviews.