Public Enemies; Oh, Mars Overreacts

pubicenemies

Here’s the first official stills from Michael Mann’s Public Enemies, which marks the comeback of Stephen Dorff, I guess. From Empire:

Described as a sort of Heat II, the film tells the story of charismatic criminal gang leader John Dillinger (Depp) and determined lawman Melvin Purvis (Bale), the FBI agent tracking him down. Also in the cast is Marion Cotillard as Dillinger’s girlfriend, Channing Tatum, Giovanni Ribisi, David Wenham, Leelee Sobieski and Emilie de Ravin, with Billy Crudup as the legendary J. Edgar Hoover.

I’m sure it’s going to be solid, but I am worried about one thing and I hope I’m proven wrong…

Dillinger is one of the most mythologized outlaws in American history and most see him as some sort of martyr; a Robin Hood of the Depression era. But if you read between the lines, you’ll find that he was a murderer and cop killer, just like Jesse James, Bonnie & Clyde, Ma Barker, and Babyface Nelson (who rolled with Dillinger). He took care of those around him, but he didn’t hand out his scores to the hungry masses. I’ve studied this era in American crime and never read about an individual criminal who shared his wealth with the poor. He was a piece of shit and should be remembered that way. Now, Depp is an idol to impressionable tweens, so casting him as a trigger-happy, smirking scumbag may incite a new generation to look up to “Handsome Johnny,” but hopefully they actually read a book about him. I’m probably overreacting, but I know this territory in American history and if it’s one thing I hate, it’s the public’s practice of canonizing shitheads.

If your’e really interested in some true gentleman bank robbers from American history, check out Willie Sutton and “Western” George Leslie. Sutton escaped from jail three times (by himself no less, Dillinger had help), represented himself in court (and won), robbed more banks than anyone in his time, and did it all with never firing a gun. Leslie, who operated in the late 19th Century, was responsible for 80 percent of bank robberies in America during that time. Sadly, there’s not that much information on his illegal going-ons, because he was that good.

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