Blu-ray Review: Dillinger

John Dillinger robbing a bank

America has a long and complex history with its outlaws. This fascination dates back all the way to the time of colonisation and the Old West. The likes of Jesse James, Billy the Kid and Butch Cassidy wrote their own legends and captured the public’s imagination. As the wild frontier was replaced by urban sprawl and cowboys became gangsters, crime just took a different face. One of the most famous criminals during the Great Depression was John Dillinger. Dillinger tells the story of his downfall.

FBI field office chief Melvin Purvis (Ben Johnson) has made it his mission to put an end to the lives of those criminals who have become folk heroes. John Dillinger (Warren Oates) is top of that list. Meanwhile, Dillinger and his gang (including Homer Van Meter (Harry Dean Stanton), Harry Pierpont (Geoffrey Lewis), Baby Face Nelson (Richard Dreyfuss) and Charles Mackley (John P. Ryan)) are in the middle of their crime spree, but the wheels are starting to fall off the wagon.

Dillinger is a pacy and muscular portrait of a cat and mouse tussle between poacher and gamekeeper. In many ways, the Dillinger Gang changed the way bank robberies were carried out, but their crimewave also resulted in a new approach from the authorities. John Milius’ crime drama doesn’t seek to shy away from the flaws of the men involved or to glorify their actions. Dillinger is a feisty tale of the dangers of flying too close to the sun.

Special edition contents:

  • 2K restoration of the film from original film materials
  • High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray presentation
  • Original uncompressed PCM mono audio
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Audio commentary by Stephen Prince, author of Savage Cinema and Screening Violence
  • Shooting Dillinger, an interview with director of photography Jules Brenner
  • Original Gangster, an interview with producer Lawrence Gordon
  • Ballads and Bullets, an interview with composer Barry De Vorzon
  • Still gallery
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips

Dillinger is released on Blu-ray by Arrow Video on 3 January.

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