Tagged: Johnny Depp

Donnie Brasco’s Brown Leather Blazer

Johnny Depp as Joe Pistone, aka Donnie Brasco, in Donnie Brasco (1997)

Johnny Depp as Joe Pistone, aka Donnie Brasco, in Donnie Brasco (1997)

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Johnny Depp as Joe Pistone, aka “Donnie Brasco”, undercover FBI agent infiltrating the Mafia

New York City, Fall 1979

Film: Donnie Brasco
Release Date: February 28, 1997
Director: Mike Newell
Costume Designer: Aude Bronson-Howard & David C. Robinson

Background

#MafiaMonday has become something of an occasional tradition for BAMF Style, but there’s no reason why every celebration of mob style needs to feature an actual gangster. Take the case of Joe Pistone, a real-life FBI agent and undercover pioneer whose six years infiltrating the Bonanno family of the New York Mafia was so effective that NYPD investigations and even some FBI files had mistakenly marked the agent as a mob associate named Don Brasco. Pistone was ordered to end his operation in the summer of 1981, despite the agent hoping to at least be “made” and inducted into the ranks of the mob.

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Dillinger’s Navy Striped Suit in Public Enemies

Johnny Depp as John Dillinger in Public Enemies (2009)

Johnny Depp as John Dillinger in Public Enemies (2009)

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Johnny Depp as John Dillinger, maverick Depression-era bank robber

Chicago, Spring 1934

Film: Public Enemies
Release Date: July 1, 2009
Director: Michael Mann
Costume Designer: Colleen Atwood

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

It’s been quite some time since I’ve visited Public Enemies, the Michael Mann-directed action thriller depicting the life and crimes of Depression-era desperado John Dillinger. The film received mixed to positive reviews upon its release with much of the praise going to Michael Mann’s usual attention to detail as well as Johnny Depp’s performance as the Indiana-born outlaw.

Colleen Atwood’s period costumes are also worthy of attention and praise. High fashion was the signifier of success for Depression-era gangsters, and Dillinger rarely led his gun-toting cronies into a bank without being dressed to the nines.

Even when on the run, such as this scene set not long after Dillinger’s narrow escape from an FBI ambush at the Little Bohemia lodge in Wisconsin, John Dillinger made a consistent effort to dress well. (The film plays with historical accuracy to present its own narrative, pushing Billie Frechette’s arrest to after the Little Bohemia raid; in real life, Billie was arrested on April 9, 1934, two weeks before Melvin Purvis’ federal agents attempted to trap the Dillinger gang at Little Bohemia.) Continue reading

The Rum Diary: Gabardine Windbreaker and Chinos

Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp in The Rum Diary (2011)

Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp in The Rum Diary (2011)

Vitals

Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp, expatriate American journalist

San Juan, Puerto Rico, Summer 1960

Film: The Rum Diary
Release Date: October 28, 2011
Director: Bruce Robinson
Costume Designer: Colleen Atwood

Background

“In summary, this airman, although talented, will not be guided by policy,” heralded Hunter S. Thompson’s honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force in November 1957, a considerable understatement given the iconic writer’s eventual symbolic anti-authoritarian status.

Following his discharge, Thompson tried a few journalistic stints in New York but was fired by Time (for insubordination) and the Middletown Daily Record (for damaging a candy machine) and moved to Puerto Rico in 1960.

Having failed to procure a position with the San Juan Star, Thompson wrote for the El Sportivo sporting magazine… though it folded quickly after his arrival. His experiences in San Juan formed the basis of The Rum Diary, a novel that he penned shortly after his return to the U.S. the following year, although it wasn’t published for more than three decades.

While it would be inaccurate to describe The Rum Diary as a strict roman à clef, its morose, restless narrator Paul Kemp is clearly modeled on Thompson himself, and Thompson’s friend Johnny Depp was naturally tapped to play the role in the film adaptation. Continue reading

The Rum Diary: Kemp’s Striped Linen Shirt and Jeans

Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp in The Rum Diary (2011), with co-star Amber Heard.

Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp in The Rum Diary (2011), with co-star Amber Heard.

Vitals

Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp, expatriate American journalist and borderline alcoholic

St. Thomas, Summer 1960

Film: The Rum Diary
Release Date: October 28, 2011
Director: Bruce Robinson
Costume Designer: Colleen Atwood

Background

All the balls that Paul Kemp was juggling at this point have begun to fall. His grasp on his job, his shady dealings with PR whiz Sanderson, and his flirtation with Sanderson’s girlfriend. The bottom falls out when Kemp and photographer pal head to Carnival at Saint Thomas in the Virgin Islands after visiting island property for Sanderson’s budding real estate scam.

Bruce Robinson’s script perfectly nails the feeling of the scene as Chenault leads Kemp by the hand to Sanderson’s yacht:

Like walking the plank in reverse, they invade a small drinks party.

Other than the glamorous Chenault, none of the new visitors fit in with Sanderson’s cosmopolitan set. Continue reading

The Death of John Dillinger – 2009 Style

Johnny Depp as John Dillinger in Public Enemies (2009).

Johnny Depp as John Dillinger in Public Enemies (2009).

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Johnny Depp as John Dillinger, doomed Depression-era bank robber

Chicago, July 1934

Film: Public Enemies
Release Date: July 1, 2009
Director: Michael Mann
Costume Designer: Colleen Atwood

Background

While 1973’s Dillinger took a “just the facts” approach to retelling the life of bank robber John Dillinger (albeit with very exaggerated facts), Michael Mann’s Public Enemies painted the farmboy-turned-criminal as a more mythical figure. This seems to be the trend in recent years.

Forty-some years ago, the cinematic John Dillinger and Clyde Barrow were depicted as Robin Hood-type folk heroes who were cornered by relentless authorities and shot without warning. Continue reading

George Jung’s White Leisure Suit in Blow

Johnny Depp as George Jung in Blow (2001), from New Line Cinema.

Johnny Depp as George Jung in Blow (2001), from New Line Cinema.

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Johnny Depp as George Jung, international cocaine dealer

Miami to Colombia, Summer 1977

Film: Blow
Release Date: April 6, 2001
Director: Ted Demme
Costume Designer: Mark Bridges

Background

Pablo Escobar: So, you’re the man, huh? Who takes fifty kilos and make them disappear in one day.
George Jung: Actually, it was three days.

As a multimillion dollar-earning international drug dealer, George Jung was well-known to the drug culture and law enforcement by the time Bruce Porter’s 1993 book, Blow, was released. However, it was the Ted Demme-directed 2001 film of the same name that brought Jung’s life into the mainstream with Johnny Depp in the lead role. Continue reading

Paul Kemp’s Blue Suit Jacket and Corvette in The Rum Diary

Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp in The Rum Diary (2011).

Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp in The Rum Diary (2011).

Vitals

Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp, expatriate American journalist and borderline alcoholic

Puerto Rico, Summer 1960

Film: The Rum Diary
Release Date: October 28, 2011
Director: Bruce Robinson
Costume Designer: Colleen Atwood

Background

Car week continues with a story by an American icon involving an iconic American car.

More than a decade before becoming the face and beautifully twisted mind of Gonzo journalism, Hunter S. Thompson was a struggling writer who had recently been discharged (honorably, but with prejudice) from the U.S. Air Force and had a few legal issues to his credit, not the least of all being the sinking of nearly every boat in a Kentucky harbor by shooting holes into the boats’ hulls just below the waterline. Continue reading