I posted most of my thoughts already on the movie discussion thread and in answering the Johnny/Jonnie question, but I'll summarize by saying that I concur with almost everything said here. I was actually quite relieved to find that I wasn't the only one who was distracted/upset by the historical liberties taken, and what I found to be an overly brutal Dillinger. The first time I watched PE I was horribly disappointed.
That said, I actually loved the movie by the third viewing. But only because of two things: First and foremost, I completely let go of everything I'd learned by reading PE and DTUS. I tried to go into the theater as a blank slate, and just said, "Ok, Michael Mann, entertain me", and he did. And second, by the 3rd time around I felt as though I really knew all the characters and I "caught" many things that I'd missed before, e.g., the civilians being shot at Little Bo. (By the 3rd time it's obvious they're ordinary bar patrons, but that point, and its ramifications, is lost on probably 95% of the movie going population.) The film just moves too fast to take it all in, especially in one sitting. In the movie discussion thread DB said
dharma_bum wrote:I think Michael Mann shot a three-hour movie that may have been a masterpiece and delivered a two hour and twenty minute film that falls short of that ultimate greatness.
and I tend to concur with that view.
My hopes were too high for this movie. Like every other movie I've ever seen based on a book that I read first, I was disappointed because it was so different from what I expected. But, ultimately, I did enjoy the movie. I guess I've now come to view it as just a third account. There was PE the book, Dillinger the Untold Story, and PE the movie. Just another take on what happened, with the last version being the most artistic, the most romantic, and yes, the most fictional.