Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The story left me quite unfulfilled....

I worry about this in my own writing.

Last night we watched Public Enemies...a movie about John Dillinger, played by a sexy Johnny Depp. Normally movie or books about crime and violence are not my thing...but I have a curiosity and affection for stories of days gone by. So even though I knew the movie wasn't exactly my cup of tea, I wanted to watch it.

But I was disappointed for a couple reasons.

First of all, the movie started in the middle of the story. John was being hauled off to jail after being on parole for only 8 weeks- he had spent the 9 years before that in this same prison. He seems to have gotten himself sentenced on purpose and breaks out his buddies. He continues with his bank robbing with the aid of the friends he made while in the slammer. But I am left wondering what the heck happened between his parole and where the movie started. You do find out later that the original prison sentence was for stealing $50 worth of groceries....but I want to know why he started robbing banks. The movie only chronicles the end of his crime career and life. The movie ended and I never got a sense of why he did what he did. I wanted to know what those 8 weeks were like....I wanted to know more of his story...not just the end of it.

And the other part that disappointed me was the romance part of the story. So incredibly unbelievable. Basically he sees this woman in a bar (or whatever they were called in the 30's), goes up to her, asks her to dance. They leave and go to a restaurant....he tells her who is and tells her he wants her to come with him and he'll take care of her for the rest of their lives. This is the point where I say...what the??? I am a romantic through and through...I write romance.....and I often use the "love at first sight thing" in my stories....but seriously?? This was just too quick, too easy.....too unbelievable for me.

I know this is a true story and maybe that is how it all really happened...but I walked away wanting much more than what this movie gave me. I truly hope my stories never do this to my readers!


  1. Haven't seen the movies, but that does sound seriously frustrating. At least you got to stare at Johnny Depp for a couple of hours. :)

  2. LOL! So true!! There were parts where I couldn't understand what people were saying so that didn't help either.

  3. My hubby rented this movie, but I didn't watch it because I'm a baby when it comes to violence. After your review, I'm glad I skipped it. I hate when stories/movies are unrealistic. I'm obsessed with making sure every plot point in my novels are believable, almost to fault.

  4. I struggle with that same fear Stephanie. This is a good reminder to watch the details to be sure they're not too unbelieveable.

  5. I think we all worry we're writing something that requires a little TOO much suspension of disbelief, from time to time. But I especially think that sometimes, Hollywood standards for story-telling really miss the mark. Johnny Depp alone does not a movie make.

    I do think one of the biggest parts of telling a successful story is finding the right starting point!

  6. Glad I'm not alone in my fear!!

    Steph, I have to say, the violence was not all that bad...I've seen way worse. I only really cringed once and that was the end when they shot him.

    I went online today and did a quick read of the page on John Dillinger on Wikipedia. So many things were different than the movie...I hate when Hollywood changes reality or chooses to omit certain parts.