Quality of Film in "Public Enemies"

I was watching “Public Enemies” on DVD last night. I enjoyed it a lot but was distracted with the quality of the film. If anyone else has seen the movie, you might know what I am talking about. Since I have no technical training, I have come here for an answer.

Does anyone know what kind of film the movie used and/or why it was used?

Michael Mann shot with a digital camera, not film. Apparently everything appears a lot sharper with digital, and this enhances details, perhaps to a distracting degree.

This article might help shed some light as to why.

Actually, I think the opposite is true–at least with the format Mann often uses (Collateral, parts of Ali). The color values tend to be muddy, quick motion tends to be blurrier, focal depth is more indiscriminate, and the overall feel of the visual image is synthetic, IMHO. For some films, this is fine because it can create a sense of immediacy (the way “video” often does), but with a period film like PE, it is indeed distracting and distancing. I love Mann as a director, but his aesthetic choices in shooting with the digital he does is a huge disappointment.

What was wrong with the film quality? I mean, the picture quality, since he used digital cameras?

Been a while since I saw this but I remember hating the way it looked. It made the sets look fake, like a cheap soap opera.

Thanks for this link, it was a very interesting article. Still, I can’t help but be perplexed a bit because I know of other films that were shot digitally that do not have the “soap opera” look (I like that description of the film quality).

A few choice

I love-love LOVE Johnny Depp, and I hate-hate HATED this movie because of the way it was shot. What Mann did to my Johnny is a travesty.

I saw it in the theatre, and it was so shaky and out of focus in places that it made me queasy. I wondered at the time if it was some “arty” thing that was supposed to add to the realism by making it more gritty or whatever.

I recall thinking at the time it was a shame because all those qualities did was take away from my enjoyment of the story and the entire experience in general.

And that’s something for me because I could enjoy Johnny Depp reading a phone book.

I’m sorry, but I’m guessing that the REAL John Dillinger would make your Johnny Depp look like a pansy.

I was too busy wondering why they did such a bad adaptation of a very good book.

I saw the film in the theater (in fact, I saw it at The Biograph in Chicago!), and I agree with you: it looked horribly muddy.

Side note: when we came out of the theater, Lincoln Avenue for some reason had half a dozen cop cars on it! I almost ducked into the alley out of pure instinct!..TRM