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Film Review: Public Enemies July 24, 2009

Posted by KJ theBookGirl in review.
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Johnny Depp is being walked in handcuffs to an enormous and frightening prison, which looks like something out of Nazi Germany. He is forlorn and subdued, as he is pushed inside. He is playing John Dillinger, the well known bank-robbing criminal from the early years of the 20th century, known as the public enemy era, thus the film’s title.

The film follows a high-action, fast paced plot in which various bank robberies, prison breaks and car chases occur, which are fairly true to the life story of John Dillinger.

The plot is thick, fast and furious, and although in some places somewhat confusing to some, overall reasonably easy to follow, but not at all tame, and definitely enough to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Dillinger’s character has that beautiful balance between bad guy and good guy, with a Robin Hood-esque approach to being the number 1 public enemy – he steals, he kills, but he gives the innocent people what’s theirs; he doesn’t tolerate criminal offenses concerning the blameless.

Overall his character is well developed, with a sensitive side found when he sees “his girl”. This romance, although dangerous and complicated, allows us to see Dillinger as a caring, soft, loving and above all protective man, rather than the violent criminal which the police see. We learn to love and feel sorry for Billie, his girl, as she lives her life on a knife’s edge depending fully on him.

However, this romance is barely within the plot, as it focuses on the action and events which unfold. The rest of the cast are stereotypically, either cops or robbers, but within this you have the good robbers – with the same values as Johnny Dillinger – and the bad robbers, who are just in it for the money through and through.

This film could be critisized by the excess gunshot. As viewers we understand that there was lots of violence and gunfights, but we didn’t need quite so much gunfire and shooting scenes to prove this to us.

Public Enemies also seemed to find it hard to integrate the sensitivity of emotions with the insensitivity of the crimes, especially in the final scene (spoiler alert) where the delicate cinema scene is juxtaposed with the slow motion fight scene in which there is great violence as well as great sadness. However, it did do well to get as integrated as it was, as this is not an easy combination.

The film, overall, was extremely good and definitely worth watching, although not if action, history or crime films are not your sort of thing. This had thrill, suspense, tension, a good plot, was historically accurate, and was realistic, so all in all you should definitely see Public Enemies.

For more information on John Dillinger.



Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy April 27, 2009

Posted by KJ theBookGirl in book, GCSE, girl, KJ, Mystery, read, recommendation, review, theBookGirl, Young Adult.
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Looking for JJ“Three children walked away from the cottages on the edge of the town towards Berwick Waters. Later that day only two of them came back…”

Looking for JJ is a book which has stayed with me for years, I first picked it up when I was about 13, looking for something new and different in my local library and found the exciting new world of Young Adult. That’s where I cam across a beautiful book which on the inside flap read:

“Alice Tully knows exactly what happened that spring day six years ago – though it’s still hard for her to believe it’s real. The images, the sounds and the aftermath are imprinted on her memory. She’ll never be able to forget, even though she’s trying to lead a normal life – she has a job, friends and a boyfriend whom she adores. She’s making a go of things, putting her past behind her at last. But Alice’s past is dangerous, and violent, and sad – and it’s about to rip her new life apart

A  gripping and emotionally searing novel from an accomplished author. Anne Cassidy has tackled a terrifying subject with subtlety and imagination – Looking for JJ will not let you go.”

That blurb captivated me straight away, and as soon as I got home I just read and read and read. A few years later I came across it again whilst volunteering in Oxfam. I immediately bought it, remembering how much I loved it, and read it over the next few days; impressed that it wasn’t just good to a tween. 

The book covers the story of Alice Tully, a girl who has to face the usual uncertainties and problems in life which everybody has…but with the added difficulty of a horrific past. She has deep problems and conflicts rooted from the past, which she has to try to overcome.

It’s an epic story of beating the odds, survival in an unforgiving world and being misunderstood. It deals with living with the consequences of your actions and not being able to sorry to the person you hurt. 

This book really does absorb you, the reader, and also makes you really consider everything you do, and the actions.

Bad points, I suppose, are that some areas of Alice’s life could be developed a little more, so we see mor eof who she really is. Also, without writing a spoiler,  I was a little disappointed with the ending because it didn’t quite seem to fit with Alice’s personality.

I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who is interested in a crime novel, filled with chilling secrets and uncertainties. If you want to read something deep which can still communictae with you on a more basic level, this is definitely the way to go. 

Be warned, throughout this story I did need tissues.


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