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Criminal behind the myth

July 04, 2009

Re Kenneth Turan's review of the movie "Public Enemies" ["Gangster Chic, July 1]:

Turan describes it as "an impressive film of great formal skill . . . an art film" with "a brooding dark-of-the-soul quality," with director Michael Mann being "one of the masters of modern American cinema," "a restless soul, a striver, pushing his work toward . . . the recapturing and recasting of reality."

Yeah, right!

Dillinger was a thug, an uneducated criminal who stole money, was responsible for four people's deaths, served seven years in prison and was dishonorably discharged from the Navy. Just the man you want your daughter to marry, live next door to or play golf with, right?

Not to worry. Super dude Johnny Depp, a "star power acting with magnetism to spare," results in our "admiring [Dillinger's] nerve, his style, his long gabardine overcoats . . . and his hip, round sunglasses."

This, the seventh film about Dillinger's deeds and charisma, continues Hollywood's glorification and distortion of criminals such as Billy the Kid, Jesse James, Butch Cassidy, Ma Barker, Bugsy Siegel, et al.

John Holmstrom


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