GIVE THE MAN full points for timing. Released less than a year after the onset in the summer of 2008 of the global economic crisis, and now available on DVD, Michael Mann’s Public Enemies captures perfectly, if unconsciously, the political condition of our time. The film tells the story of John Dillinger, a bank robber who was elevated by the desperation of the Great Depression into an iconic outlaw and an enduring American folk hero. A brilliant filmmaker, Mann must be an economic genius, if not an outright clairvoyant, to have successfully planned his film to coincide with this recent summer of American discontent. Or, if this sounds like too much, then certainly Mann was awfully lucky. For otherwise adverse conditions conspired to produce a most receptive climate for Public Enemies.
THE STORY ITSELF IS WELL KNOWN: Originally trained as a physician, Ernesto "Che" Guevara was an Argentine revolutionary who played a significant part in the Cuban Revolution. Later, Che tried to help incite revolution in the modern day Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Bolivia, where he was eventually killed in 1967. In the more than four decades since his death, Che has been transformed from one among many icons of the revolutionary 1960s into the most recognizable political icon of the period.
I’m Not There is the most recent effort by American director Todd Haynes, who in his relatively short career has progressed from his notorious early effort, Superstar, through a celebrated period as an icon of the New Queer Cinema, and onto mainstream Hollywood success with the Oscar-nominated Far From Heaven and now I’m Not There. Having previously tackled David Bowie in Velvet Goldmine, with I’m Not There Haynes turns his lens on one of the most iconic American musicians of the 20th century, Bob Dylan.