Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
Joel interviews the MIFF team to find out what's in this year's program announcement! Click to listen to our special SWITCHCast ep now.x
review, The Public, The, Public, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Emilio Estevez, Jena Malone, Taylor Schilling, Michael Kenneth Williams, Alec Baldwin, Christian Slater, Gabrielle Union, Jeffrey Wright, Richard T. Jones, Jacob Vargas, Emilio Estevez film rating

THE PUBLIC

★★★

HOT IDEA, CHILLY EXECUTION

THEATRICAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Ashley Teresa
26th July 2019

Have you ever watched a movie, listened to an album, and come out having no feelings about it whatsoever? You didn’t love it, you didn’t hate it, it’s an experience you’ll acknowledge you’ve had, that you know you enjoyed at the very least, but it’s one that you can recall nothing about if or how you connected with it emotionally?

This is exactly how I feel about ‘The Public’.

Emilio Estevez (‘The Mighty Ducks’) pulls quadruple duty as writer, director, producer and lead star of ‘The Public’, a drama that focuses on the rights and responsibilities of the community to show compassion to others. There’s a cold wave taking hold of Cincinnati, in extreme cases claiming the lives of those without a home to keep themselves warm in. The homeless spend their days visiting the Cincinnati Public Library (the film was actually filmed on location there), bonding with librarian Stuart (played by Eztevez). It's from this bond that a group of homeless library patrons decide that Stuart and the library’s goodwill should extend to letting them stay past closing hours, rather than be turned away from the already full shelters and face the freezing temperatures outside. The resulting standoff catches the attention of a publicity-seeking prosecutor (Christian Slater, ‘Nymphomaniac’) and a TV news report ready to spin the reality of the situation into one for her own benefit (Gabrielle Union, ‘Girls Trip’).

'THE PUBLIC' TRAILER

Estevez has managed to pull together a pretty impressive ensemble including Union, Slater, Jena Malone (‘The Neon Demon’), Alec Baldwin (‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout‘), Taylor Schilling (TV’s ‘Orange is the New Black’), Jacob Vargas (‘Devil’), and Jeffrey Wright (‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’), all of whom seem to be going for different levels of cheese depending on what the script calls for at any given time. While Estevez does try to give each character some individuality, ultimately they all feel cut from the same cloth; all able to trade quips and one-liners (especially Stuart, often rocking a hilariously positioned beanie), and all seem to have some sort of agenda regarding the incident. There are genuine attempts to make something iconic and meaningful here, but the script doesn’t have the gravitas to pull it off (it is especially not aided by the score, which features some curious uses of percussion which would feel more at home in a television ad). It’s such a shame, since the film prods at bigger ideas of how democracy does and should treat the lower class, and how public places such as a library represent a physical area accessible to all, regardless of class, race or gender, knowledge and comfort.

Estevez is not a bad director by any stretch of the imagination; he is simply a boring one.

The film's colour grading is drained of warmth which makes the Cincinnati chill feel real, but that’s about as far as the film goes in terms of establishing any tone. It's shot like pretty much everything you’ve seen before; framing and editing are, at its best, incredibly conventional, and at its worst, downright confusing. One particular scene involves Estevez beginning his line facing away from the camera, with a cut to a reaction shot halfway through him turning around and finishing his line. There seems to be a number of such choices that appear thrown in for the hell of it, along with some fades to black that feel prepped for a television ad break. This isn’t to say that Estevez is a bad director by any stretch of the imagination; he is simply a boring one. From the opening scene, a montage of the streets of Cincinnati set to a bombastic rap song that matches the tone of the film in lyrical content only, it’s pretty obvious that ‘The Public’ will probably be about as subtle with its stylistic flairs as a sledgehammer.

‘The Public’ feels like the kind of political and cultural commentary needed right now, and it’s obvious that Estevez has crafted something he is passionate about, with good intention. However, the script is sadly so entry-level that it struggles to challenge audiences in the face of its desire to have universal appeal and accessibility. It’s still worth seeing, but only for the work of the cast and to inspire discourse on the topics the film touches on – no doubt deeper than the film itself.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: 01/08/2019
RUN TIME: 2h 2m
CAST: Emilio Estevez
Jena Malone
Taylor Schilling
Michael Kenneth Williams
Alec Baldwin
Christian Slater
Gabrielle Union
Jeffrey Wright
Richard T. Jones
Jacob Vargas
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Emilio Estevez
ThePublicFilm
ThePublicFilm
ThePublicFilm
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
Umbrella Home Entertainment Prize Pack - Get copies of Gunda, King Otto and Relic to enjoy at home!
TRENDINGWIN UMBRELLA HOME ENTERTAINMENT PRIZE PACKGet copies of Gunda, King Otto and Relic to enjoy at home!
Cosmic Sin - A film that delivers on the promise of its title
TRENDINGCOSMIC SINA film that delivers on the promise of its title
Pocahontas - 25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
TRENDINGPOCAHONTAS25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
Revisiting 'Dark City' 20 years later - The most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
TRENDINGREVISITING 'DARK CITY' 20 YEARS LATERThe most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
The Keeper - The true story of the Nazi goalkeeper and the English girl
TRENDINGTHE KEEPERThe true story of the Nazi goalkeeper and the English girl
Jungle Cruise - Sailing into a new Disney classic adventure
TRENDINGJUNGLE CRUISESailing into a new Disney classic adventure
The World at War - The landmark documentary series restored in high definition
TRENDINGTHE WORLD AT WARThe landmark documentary series restored in high definition
Suicide Squad - A woefully dull and incomprehensible mess
TRENDINGSUICIDE SQUADA woefully dull and incomprehensible mess
The Princess Diaries - 20 years since Genovia found its princess
TRENDINGTHE PRINCESS DIARIES20 years since Genovia found its princess
River's Edge - The kids aren't alright
TRENDINGRIVER'S EDGEThe kids aren't alright
Matilda - Revolting children for 25 years
TRENDINGMATILDARevolting children for 25 years
Golden Voices - Immigration struggles with amusing challenges
TRENDINGGOLDEN VOICESImmigration struggles with amusing challenges
Boxing Day Movies 2020 - The year's biggest films bursting onto cinema screens
TRENDINGBOXING DAY MOVIES 2020The year's biggest films bursting onto cinema screens
Fanny Lye Deliver'd - Feminist folk horror
TRENDINGFANNY LYE DELIVER'DFeminist folk horror
The Last Horns of Africa - The danger, the heartache and the importance of saving the Rhinos
TRENDINGTHE LAST HORNS OF AFRICAThe danger, the heartache and the importance of saving the Rhinos
Monty Python's Flying Circus: The Complete Series - Sketches at a revolution
TRENDINGMONTY PYTHON'S FLYING CIRCUS: THE COMPLETE SERIESSketches at a revolution
25 Free-to-Watch Short Horror Films - The scariest shorts we uncovered online
TRENDING25 FREE-TO-WATCH SHORT HORROR FILMSThe scariest shorts we uncovered online
Aiyai: Wrathful Soul - Ambitious but unfocused Aussie horror
TRENDINGAIYAI: WRATHFUL SOULAmbitious but unfocused Aussie horror
Midsommar: The Director's Cut - Ari Aster elevates an already remarkable film to a masterpiece
TRENDINGMIDSOMMAR: THE DIRECTOR'S CUTAri Aster elevates an already remarkable film to a masterpiece
Inseparable Bros - A heartwarming tale about disability and the power of friendship
TRENDINGINSEPARABLE BROSA heartwarming tale about disability and the power of friendship
© 2011 - 2021 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us!