Composer draws from characters' inner psyche

Despite its period time frame, when “Public Enemies” was first announced as Michael Mann’s next feature, many people thought to compare it to another Mann crime saga, “Heat”: Both chronicle bank robbers on a path of self-destruction.

“One thing that is very different between this score and ‘Heat’s’ is that this one is completely acoustic — no electric guitars or anything like that at all,” says Elliot Goldenthal, who scored both films.

With “Enemies,” Goldenthal tapped a mixture of strings, brass and woodwinds to reveal the psychological layers of the character — a more important motivator for the composer than reflecting the story’s time period.

“The big thing for me when I was writing the score was to take Dillinger and create an iconic character that was bigger than the average figure,” he says.

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