Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Public Enemies

You know how some directors are always noted for one particular movie, no matter how far their career goes? Unfortunately for Michael Mann, he's one of those examples.
In 1933, the fourth year of the Great Depression, bank robber John Dillinger (Johnny Depp) challenges the law with his gang and is considered Public Enemy #1. J. Edger Hoover (Billy Crudup) goes to Congress asking for financial support to the FBI and assigns Agent Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale) responsible for the Chicago area. Meanwhile Dillinger falls in love for Billie Frechette (Marion Cotillard), and Purvis and his men stake her out to try to catch Dillinger.
I had several problems with Public Enemies. First off is the development. The story is just so weak, it essentially collapses halfway through. Next off is the inaccuracies. Whoever wrote the screenplay didn't do enough or any thorough research. And finally, the violence. I think Mann tried too hard to make it feel like Heat. The performances from Depp, Bale and Cotillard are good, but I shake my head at the fact that good actors are in a movie this weak. It only provides mild entertainment at best. Makes me question why I was dying to see this when it was released last year (and makes me grateful I didn't waste $10 to see it).
My Rating: ***


  1. Yeah I remember feeling very weak on this as well. I like that you've written more in your reviews this last couple. You should keep doing that. Makes it more enticing to read :)

  2. that was my problem with the movie too--the screenplay! it's like the writer gave up! you have all these great actors in a movie who coudln't revivev a crumbling script.

  3. Public Enemies is a truly underrated film. I'm actually surprised you didn't bring up the way the film itself was shot and the shaky cam, everyone loves to bring that one up when tearing this one apart. As for inaccuracies lets be honest, what film "based on true events" isn't beefed up and changed around to be more feature film friendly? I've read a bit on Dillinger and actually most of the main events and places in this film are plenty accurate. Take A Beautiful Mind for example, that film is completely overblown compared to it's actual events, they made an entire film about hallucinations that the real John Nash never had! I really enjoyed this one, and recognized I'm probably one of the few who does.

  4. My overall problem with this movie isn't the inaccuracies, I can deal with that. I just thought the movie dragged on too long and got kind of boring towards the end. In the end I didn't think it was a bad movie though, I just didn't think it was as great as it could have been considering the lead actors they got for it.

  5. I really liked this movie, but I was intrigued enough by the story, acting, and the camera work that the length didn't bother me.

    I was thinking about this movie the other day due to the fact that Cotillard (reportedly) turned down the role of Catwoman/Talia ah-Guhl in Batman 3. While it remains to see if that's true, Cotillard and Bale did share some scenes together in this movie, including the one where he carries her away.


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