Director: Michael Mann

Cast: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, and Billy Crudup

“We’re havin’ too good a time today, we ain’t thinking about tomorrow”. This line and the film that follows, places John Dillinger firmly within context and gives you a better idea of who this man was, what he was up against and why he became an icon during the Great Depression.

Set in 1933 against the backdrop of the Great Depression Public Enemies follows the legendary crook John Dillinger (Depp), a man who stole millions from banks and eluded capture in the process. This film largely chronicles the attempts to bring Dillinger to justice by a newly formed FBI whilst also throws light on the gangster’s romance with Billie Frechette (Cotillard). J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI (Crudup) quickly mobilizes to address the Dillinger’s mayhem at large in the country’s heartland. He appoints morally sound Melvin Purvis (Bale) to run his Chicago office. Purvis and his crew inexorably put the screws on, just as the city’s organized crime syndicate becomes annoyed by the FBI scrutiny aroused by Dillinger and other reckless gangsters.

Director Michael Mann (Heat, Miami Vice) does not waste any time warming up as he throws you right into the action from the very beginning of the film. The depiction of 1930’s America is near perfect in this film. The shaky camera work might make some audiences dizzy but works perfectly for the story as it puts you right in the middle of the chase sequences and shootout scenes. The best example of this is the shootout scene at the house where Dillinger is holed up.

Depp controls the screen pretty much throughout the film and delivers a cold and intense performance. He portrays Dillinger’s two key characteristics; charm and menace with panache. Look out for the scene where Dillinger enters the police station fearlessly and goes into the ‘Dillinger Investigations’ department going unnoticed by cops. Bale on the other hand is too stiff throughout the movie barring the climax, which makes his performance average. But both of them put together as adversaries works great for the film.

One problem that Public Enemies suffers from is the lack of character depth in many of the characters. At times, it seems as if you are expected to know and understand the characters before watching the film because it is a real life story. But apart from these minor glitches, Public Enemies makes a great watch packed with some good performances and action sequences.

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Comments
  1. Great watch assuming one knows the character backgrounds

    — @psam

  2. pri says:

    Movie seemed a bit lost at times, expecting the audience to know the background story on every character.
    Depp was definitely the best thing in the movie.

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