John Milius directs Warren Oates, Ben Johnson and Michelle Phillips in this gangster biopic of the infamous depression era bank robber who evaded the authorities with flair and ferocity.
I haven’t seen this since I was a kid but rewatching it was a bloody thrill. The rat-a-tat-tat of Tommy Guns and squibs, the great cast of Seventies faces in sharp suits, the energy of the montages. I’m a massive fan of Oates and Johnson and both shine in the quieter moments… turning their icons of cops-n-robbers history into flawed men. Oates plays Dillinger as an arsehole… an effective brute, more cunning than lucky. Johnson is just as brash and persuasive, knowing only a badge and a warrant separates his man of violence from the lawless breed he guns down. I prefer this to Bonnie & Clyde and Public Enemies. It is a cheaper production but one that thumps along with far more entertainment value and grit. Prestige be damned. Would make a great double bill with The Wild Bunch.
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