Movie Review: Public Enemies

public enemies poster small Movie Review: Public Enemies

Public Enemies is about the famed 1930’s bank robber, John Dilinger (Johnny Depp).  You can definitely tell it’s directed by Michael Mann (Miami Vice, Heat): realistic gunfights (from the awesome sound to the way they carry their weapons), stylish characters and a  love story.  I was worried about Mann shooting digitally on a period flick and I was really surprised how much I enjoyed it.  It added a bit of realism to the movie.  Besides seeing what looked like a present day el train, the rest of the production value was great.  Mann built a world that was believable and realistic.

One major problem of the movie is the way John Dilinger is written, it would have been great if we knew his motives.  Instead we get a character that acts cool but not much depthMelvin Purvis (Christian Bale), an FBI agent assigned to take down Dilinger is a great contrast.  Even though he’s more serious than Dilinger, he shows more humanity because he’s torn upholding his beliefs while being pressured by Hoover (played great by Billy Crudup) to close the case.  The last 1/3rd of the movie was a bit anti-climactic but looking back at it, it follows the same pattern as Heat.

Pacing for Public Enemies was off.  You might have to watch it twice to fully enjoy the movie.  Some plotlines were explained so fast that I didn’t know what was going on.  On the other hand, the love story was slow and somewhat over the top.

While Public Enemies is not perfect, I still enjoyed it because of Mann’s style.

Grade: B

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