Public Enemies (2009) -vs- Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Gangsters have occupied a rather over-elevated rung on the movie subject matter ladder since the first hand-cranked silents unspooled for the hungry hordes a century ago. Criminals lead such dramatic lives, so full of danger and tragedy and excitement that we naturally look to them for our movie myths and anti-heroes. We fantasize and fetishize these quintessential losers so dutifully that they continue to exude glamour and power some seventy-odd years past their reign of terror. Their Depression seemed more romantic, more photo-ready than our own, their poverty and hard times made picturesque by the passage of time. Criminal desperation and anarchic violence gets rendered literary and archetypal. So which film featuring the fall of which ill-fated bankrobber/lover makes the grade? Deppâ€™s dapper Dillinger faces off squarely with Beattyâ€™s Barrow.