Public Enemies

This was a 90-minute Bang, Bang, Kiss, Kiss, Shoot-Em-Up that, unfortunately, stretched out for waaay over 120 minutes! How many rounds can a Tommy gun shoot before it runs out of ammo? That became of paramount interest to me as I yawned my way through this much-anticipated but ultimately dreary film.

What a squandering of talent!
  • Johnny Depp ("Sweeney Todd" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory") is John Dillinger, who created his own personal crime wave in 1930s America.
  • Christian Bale ("Terminator Salvation" and "The Dark Knight") is Melvin Purvis, charged with the responsibility of bringing down Public Enemies such as Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, John Dillinger and others of that ilk.
  • Billy Crudup ("Stage Beauty") is a very young J. Edgar Hoover.
  • Marion Cotillard ("A Good Year" and an Academy Award for her brilliant portrayal of Edith Piaf in "La Vie en Rose") is the pretty face that catches Dillinger's eye.

The production values are meticulous, the 30s really look like the 30s: the cars, clothes, guns, banks and streets of Middle America where his one-man crime wave took place, all look authentic. Producer/Director Michael Mann ("Hancock" and "The Insider") spent a LOT of money making this happen!

I found a couple of things interesting:

  • The general population routinely mistakes notoriety for celebrity. Dillinger was practically a matinee idol.
  • The Congress Hotel in Tucson, Arizona still exists, pretty much unchanged.
  • The use of the latest technology in the early days of the FBI: telephones, wire tapping, teletypes, etc.

Other than that, we already know how it will end, and we have no emotional connection with the characters. What a waste of a huge, capable cast and talented artists!