Public Enemies

Public Enemies

(2009)

Michael Mann's (Heat, Miami Vice) gangster flick with Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Billy Crudup and Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose). The 1930's Chicago setting is intriguingly shot with HD video.... More

In America's booming crime wave of the '30s, no-one could stop genius bank robber John Dillinger (Depp). His charm and audacious jailbreaks endeared him to a public who had no sympathy for the banks that had plunged the country into the Depression. While the adventures of Dillinger, his gang and super-crim colleagues (such as Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd) thrilled many, FBI founder J. Edgar Hoover (Crudup) made Dillinger America's first Public Enemy Number One and sent his top man, Melvin Purvis (Bale), to stop him.Hide

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Flicks Review

Finally we get to see the 1930s as they really were. Director Michael Mann’s decision to shoot on digital high-def video pays dividends, replacing the typical glamour normally attributed to the era with a very ordinary, immediate feel. The picture quality’s ugly harshness brings Depression-era America to life in stark clarity.... More

Despite this, Public Enemies doesn’t quite have the pace you might imagine for what’s essentially a chase movie. Instead, the film is a slow burner and Elliot Goldenthal’s grim score broods with melancholy. It feels as if Dillinger has been doomed from the start; flirting with his self-made legend until it overtakes him and leaves him alone and wounded.

There are some cracker scenes amid this languid pacing. You’ll love watching the gang of robbers calmly strolling into a bank and waltzing out again with bags of loot. A highlight is the shootout at the Little Bohemia lodge. Gunshots crackle, wood splinters and glass shatters, with Mann’s frantic camera racing after the fugitives as they scramble into the woods like rats escaping from Christian Bale’s sombre predator.

Johnny Depp makes a charismatic John Dillinger; suave and cocky, reluctant to kill anybody because that’s “not what the public wants”. There’s a moment where he’s watching a Clark Gable film and you see him recognising himself in the screen legend’s image. Their moustaches are identical.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 5 ratings, 6 reviews
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BY Alana nobody

I struggle to understand why someone considered this story to be worth telling. There was very little by the way of intrigue or tension. None of the characters - though well acted - appealed to the audience or were seen to develop in any way throughout the film.

Too slow and lacking in motivation; I fidgeted in my seat waiting for this film to develop a sense of purpose. Half way through I realised this film was going nowhere, so instead decided to try and amuse myself by using it as a set... More and costume study, and even these elements left me wanting more.

In short, I was disappointed by this film. I had expected more.Hide


BY Robin nobody

One of the best ganster movies ever made . The charm the charisma , brutality all depicted so delictely even with the sound reincrnating the 1930 era , thanks to Miachel Mann . Jonny is brilliant neverthless is Bale and Marion
Slow but even with a lenghty play will keep u glued to the screen with such a blanced narration .

If u havent seen it yet don't hesitate . Go watch it flocks one of the best moves of the year .


BY Ken-Burns superstar

but worth it. All the bits of the story fit and see it on a big screen. A great rivalry between the state and a bank robber. All of them were nasty but some more charismatic than others


BY Michael7 lister

Thought this film was very stylish on screen with Michael Mann doing brilliant job of recreating the great depression era on screen.

If you check out photos of the real John Dillinger the scary thing is how similar he actually looks to Johnny Depp, who does not dissapoint at all IMO.

Go see it somewhere comfortable, as it is quite long, but needs to be to tell the whole story that also provides an interesting education on begginings of the FBI among other things...


BY Philip-Moore superstar

I thought this was Michael Mann back to his best. The way the film is shot is great and very deliberate. Johnny Depp is a perfect casting for this role, being the charasmatic bad boy. I also that Christian Bale did a great job as Melvin Purvis and of course Marion Collitard as Billie. It was your thinking man's action movie.


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The Press Reviews

68% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • This is a very good film, with Depp and Bale performances of brutal clarity. I'm trying to understand why it is not quite a great film. I think it may be because it deprives me of some stubborn need for closure. Full Review

  • I wish Mann would drop his experiment with digital cameras. This film would have looked a lot better in 35mm film, and 20 minutes or so could have been left on the editor's floor without losing any of the story, but Public Enemies is still a fine film, probably the year's best crime flick to date. Full Review

  • Intelligent and challenging: Mann's crime epic could take two viewings to fully absorb, but it's worth every devoted minute. Full Review

  • The film lacks the juice promised by the teaming of such extraordinary filmmakers with a cast as large as a Hooverville encampment. Full Review

  • Simultaneously an art film and a crime film, Mann's latest work may not give you a ton to hang on to emotionally, but the beauty and skill of the filmmaking keep you tightly in its grasp. Full Review

  • Call it the anti-American Gangster. And we mean that as a compliment. This superstar crime thriller emerges as something surprising, fascinating and technically dazzling. Don’t expect a Hollywood movie. Expect a Michael Mann movie. Full Review

  • Oddly, too, the film is somewhat shortchanged by its great star, Johnny Depp, who disappointingly has chosen to play Dillinger as self-consciously cool rather than earthy and gregarious. Full Review