Try to imagine of being able to travel backwards in time carrying with you one of the best high definition camera available on the professional market and, once joints in years 30’s, to begin to resume the moments and vivid colors of those times. Public Enemies is written by Michael Mann, Ronan Bennett and Ann Biderman and come from the bestseller of Bryan Burrough (the Italian edition published by Sperling Kupfer) ; this book narrates of a country, the States, during the crisis of `the
29, while the bands of brave cold blood’s gangster are running with fast car through the citie’s roads armed of powerful and automatic weapons ,heisting banks and destroying keeping books loans like modern Robin Hood. These guys act in that way are destined to be confronted with the reaction of Washington and at times baby FBI with head a young person and unscrupulous director, Edgar J.Hoover (played by Billy Crudup) and the agent Melvin Purvis (a stoic Christian Bale). A epic as well as bloody-thirsty confrontation that will carry icone of the imaginary US collective like the nobleman John Dillinger (Johnny Deep with an interpretation that goes beyond the reliability of the personage), Pretty Boy Floyd (Channing Tatum) ; Baby Face Nelson (Stephen Graham) behind the slabs or often with their name carved over a tombstone. There is not a nostalgic translation of the facts but the search of the authenticity, of the realism meant also like a refusal of the subjects of conventional beauty,but Polly Hamilton interpreted by Leelee Sobiesky and Marion Cotillard in the role of Billie are both splendid and refusal of every idealization in favor of a more pragmatic approach, often with an accent on the humble life or the quotidianity , with a resumptions that’s for help us to render tangible what we are observing. This is the type of visual concept ,HigDef avant garde of sonorous visual authenticity/(powerful and defined sounds effects .45 ACP Tommy Gun included) and novelist dogma which Michael Mann, collaborating with Dante Spinotti, has intentionally required for Public Enemies; the dosed use of the classic conceptualized lighting system, typically named Hollywood’s Lighting, that take form on the use of powerful Beebe Night Lights for the nocturnal ambush to the hut of Little Bohemia ,scene set in the forests of the Wisconsin,and use of other lights form for give priority to the use of the practical natural light/already existing in location and available for any determined scene; so PE is being full of nocturnal scenes of action, so the conceptual key for this film is give by the readiness of the digital cameras in the reading of the shadows , totally and positively different regarding if compared to Film emulsion and this has allowed a dynamic use of the filmic grammar obtaining a modern film with hyper realistic look that does not get lost in romantic classicism and that it succeeds to conserve to Mann his solid trademarks also starting from the use of music, symphonic and ambient score by Elliot Goldenthal, music and use of the music that take the “your breath” for how proper it is,as always happens in all the Michael Mann’s works ,anyway about this factor I have already have a wide analysis in my other pages .So back to visual things the GOOD and expert Italian director of photography Dante Spinotti here to its fifth hard job with Michael Mann (Manhunter,the Last of the Moichans, Heat and The Insider) composed Public Enemies in format 2.40:1 using HD camera Sony F23, excellent for sharpness and depth of field (but also used the F950 model with T950 adapter) in coupling to the small (but great) Sony EX1 for inner takes inside the cars, Spinotti used set of lenses Carl Zeiss Digiprimes and zoom Fujinon HAe10x10 (T1.8) while for some other scenes he shot in super 35mm with film Kodak Vison 3 500T 5219 using film cameras ARRI 435, 235 with the splendid optical spherical Cooke S4 nearly to give a tribute to the past of Manhunter(and Joe Dunton Hardware) – “With digital cameras, there aren’t any steadfast rules, and I believe that gives me a huge amount of freedom,” he concludes. “The medium is romantic, interesting and beautiful, but it also looks real. And there’s so much you can do in post! Film has a certain kind of quality that cannot be matched by digital technology, but at times, the advantages digital has over film are important for the language and the contents of the story you’re telling, and that determines your choice.
Other task like dress the characters goes to costume designer’s Colleen Atwood (already costume designer in Manhunter) ,work does in excellent way because it transform everything in to “woven narrative” probably accomplished by a casting at least fabulous and I recap this concept with the” face ” of the character of Charles Winstead (interpreted from the amazing Stephen Lang). The production design, carefully splendid, is by Nathan Crowley (Dark Knigh,Batman Begins, Escape from L.A WTFK.) while in phase of pre-production the research’s work in location (how lights hits some building during the hours of day)sees engaged, like always, the Bravo photographer Gusmano Cesaretti he is also in dresses of Co-producer. There is who has compared Michael Mann to an author who prepares itself as Rembrandt and executes like Picasso others like Caravaggio that then is transformed in a Kandinsky, but what is the painting if not the main source through the cinema expresses itself visually? Interesting and true concept because in observing some of they works I have understood the visual process of Michael Mann.,he is the father of a identification’s cinema (the scene of the Biograph Theater is a magum opus), he start to revolutionized it with ALI, he stylized this skills with Collateral and Miami Vice , and come now with the Hi Def as contemporary phenomenon, witness of the change of visual forms, and now with this story carried in to 30’s works to the perfection and that clean our preconception born from the repertory of grainy, dirty images, sometimes sepia or black white images (Mann cites that images with a editing game during the extradition to Indiana State scene), and far away from the reasoning that who it has lived those times and places has lived them to colors and in the high definition of our eye.