Public Enemies Movie Reviews
User reviews on Public Enemies
Awsome Movie.....They shot this movie in John's footsteps...they filmed it in the same historical places.
Imagine a time in America when banks where corrupt, and FBI used torturer... ok maybe it's not so hard to imagine these days....
While it was not Michaels Mann's intention at drawing parallels between this time in history and the crime wave of the great depression he could hardly have chosen more likely subject matter. The problem is, this film falls short on the history lesson and focuses more on the classy gangsters with guns.
Watching this movie is like having someone mumbling a history lesson on bank robbing with the sound of Thompson submachines guns firing loudly and drowning out the important parts. I'd like to emphasize the work MUMBLING because most people in this film will lean in closely and speak softly.
What you end up with is a film with good action and a half decent Hollywood story, but you are left with a sense this film could have been so much more than what it was. I suppose that's a good thing but nothing hurts me more than seeing something fall short of it's potential.
Michael Mann has shown with this picture that he can make a terrible movie. The dialog is stunted. Therefore, the acting suffers. If you like a lot of shoot em up and no substance, then this is what you want. If you want to see a good movie about John Dillinger, rent the original, produced over 40 years ago. It is so much better than this. What a waste of Depp's talent. The way this was directed, anyone could have played this part. Nothing stands out, except the overuse of tommy guns and car chases.
An all-around, entertaining action/adventure movie with a charismatic, experienced cast, clever dialogue, and both amazingly hilarious and serious moments. Johnny Depp once again never ceases to amaze me with his diverse performances; the story line delivers a historical vantage point but at the same time lets you love the bad guy too! (I would have gotten along great with him! My philosophy exactly!) Definately a movie to see whether you're familiar with history or just want to be wholeheartedly entertained by an outstanding cast reenacting a truly action-packed time in our history.
The real Michael Mann must have been abducted by aliens and replaced with a changeling. Never would I have expected a motion picture from Mr. Mann (I am a long time admirer...) that was so poorly done in almost every way that counts toward making a watchable picture. A corny script, shallow character and plot development, embarrassing anachronisms (couldn't they have at least tried to cover Johnny D's earring holes with a bit of makeup?)...and inexplicable scenes: this is the stuff of Public Enemies. (What was the point of the scene in which J. Edgar Hoover pinning those badges on the Junior G Men??) You'll want your money and your two hours back, so wait till this beast comes out on cable, and you can change the channel once you realize just how bad a movie this really is.
In good--or, let's say, traditional--storytelling, plot and character take turns driving each other, and the "action/adventure" thrill of the story can be rooted in either at any time.
Not so in the case of Public Enemies. Here, action scenes are the top layer, invoked to mark key developments in the story. And while this movie certainly doesn't want for action scenes, sometimes these are so similar-looking as to seem interchangeable--meaning, random. OK, I admit the story is pretty straightforward, it survives the occasional vagueness in the way it is told.
As the poster suggests, color saturation is somewhat "rationed" in much of the movie, and the same goes for lighting in general. This appears to be intentional, and it can certainly be functional in portraying the bleakness of the Great Depression era. That said, it is ironic how the cast apparently seeks to, or is made to, mirror this "sparse" kind of expression by delivering a largely "understated" performance.
There are a lot of close-up shots, but what they show more closely for the most part is the overall lackluster variety of facial expression. That way, for example, a critically important federal budgeting hearing comes off like a high school debate club session, only with less verve. I dare not infer, based on that scene, the type of person J. Edgar Hoover may have been.
On the other hand, the scene between Johnny Depp and Marion Cotillard leading up to the love scene suggests--again--there may be an artistic idea behind all that: when she is hesitant to go with him because she hardly knows anything about him, he gives her a few sketchy bullet points about his biography and tells her that is all she needs to know. And she runs with it.
The movie does have suspenseful moments that provide insight into, for example, what may have intrigued John Dillinger (Depp). In one scene, he walks up to the entire squad of detectives, who are absorbed in something else, and don't recognize him. He even starts a brief, innocuous conversational exchange, apparently getting a kick out of his conspicuousness being the best disguise. In another scene, he watches a gangster flick at a movie theater and seems to process it against his own mindset and outlook, apparently gaining a sense of fate looming.
Alas, a lot of potentially vibrant storylines, especially pertaining to character, remained unexplored. Maybe in three years or so they will have some artsy-sounding name for this type of "subdued" narrative.
A movie production of the highest caliber with a captivating story. Acting, directing, lighting, sets, camera angles are all brilliant. A work of art. Johnny Depp and supporting cast are terrific.
I hope this movie receives the accolades it deserves when the academy awards are announced.
Director Michael Mann returns to the cops and criminals genre with Public Enemies, based on Bryan Burrough's book Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34. Johnny Depp stars as legendary Depression-era outlaw John Dillinger, whose charm, media savvy and bank robberies captured America's imagination and made him the most famous and beloved desperado since Jesse James.
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"Public Enemies" is a good summer movie – perfect for a 4th of July long weekend for those people who will not be getting away. A few critics have been groaning that this film had the potential to be a ‘Great Movie’ – whatever that means – forget them and have fun.
Given the talented cast and crew, expectations were sky high. Michael Mann directs the story of John Dillinger with Johnny Depp as the bank robber and Marion Cotillard as his girlfriend. Christian Bale is on hand as the FBI agent obsessed with bringing Dillinger in, one way or another.
Depp sparkles as Dillinger, a criminal at the height of his powers. The Depression drags on, and people see Dillinger as a hero; he robs banks, not the people in them ("I'm not here for your money," he tells a man who has offered his cash). He lives completely in the moment, either unaware that the good times won't last forever or maybe he just does not care.
Christian Bale is miscast as Melvin Purvis, and stuck with and awful Southern accent (even more annoying than his weird groan in the last Terminator movie). The idea, evidently, is that Purvis and Dillinger are equally devoted to their tasks, even if they're on opposite sides of the law…kinda like Deniro and Pacino in Heat.
Mann's work as director is technically brilliant. Close-ups are used extensively so that you don't break eye contact with the characters. In one scene, as Dillinger runs through a forest at night, Mann keeps the frame on Depp's face, while in the background, employing a depth-of-field Hitchc*** might envy, we see feds scrambling behind him. The effect increases the tension and looks great.
In fact, despite Depp's best efforts, and Cotillard's always-luminous presence, Director Mann is the star here, even if there's a distance between the audience and the film that can't quite be overcome. The effort, on all fronts, is outstanding. The execution, alas, particularly in the case of Bale's character, is not…but still, this is a summer movie to enjoy.