There are movies in this world that for whatever reason hit all the right buttons, and when a flick finds that perfect mixture of actor, story, tone, and style, it doesn't matter what anyone says to sway you: you are convinced that this is the movie for you. For me, Public Enemies is that movie. For today's Songs We Love, I went with Otis Taylor's 10 Million Slaves, a song that wouldn't normally have made it into regular rotation, but, thanks to my love of Mann's period crime tale, has become a permanent fixture on my movie music playlist. The song originally appeared on Taylor's 2002 album, Truth is Not Fiction, made its first appearance in the trailer for the film and eventually became a recurring theme in the film.
Mann's 2009 film was based on Bryan Burrough's non-fiction book Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, and upon release critics were divided on the director's tale of Bureau of Investigation agent Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale) and his quest to bring the criminals John Dillinger (Johnny Depp), Baby Face Nelson (Stephen Graham), and Pretty Boy Floyd (Channing Tatum) to justice under the orders of one J. Edgar Hoover (who may now be played by Leonardo DiCaprio in a Clint Eastwood film). So even though historians complained about inaccuracies, and critics complained about the overuse of muzzle flash, I stand by Mann's film because it tried to do a period piece in a different way. Usually, when we see the great depression it's drenched in sepia, but Mann took the past and brought it into the present with HD cameras and cinema verité style. I admired that about it.
After the jump: "Another mad man done struck again..."
The best movie songs will always bring you back to the movie when you hear them, and Taylor's song definitely delivers. Granted, most of the music in the film was provided by Elliot Goldenthal (who also scored Mann's 1995 film Heat) but the song that I will always associate with Dillinger and the gang is Taylor's bluesy masterpiece.
As an added bonus: another Taylor song featured in the film, Nasty Letter.