Mann Limits Dillinger/Depp in Otherwise Great ‘Public Enemies’- Movie Review

Hollywood has tried to make history more exciting in movies. 10,000 B.C, Braveheart, 300 and even The Da Vinci Code had some social studies packed in it somewhere. Public Enemies tries to retell the story of John Dillinger, the notorious 1930s bank robber. But who could portray Dillinger? Nobody could possibly live up to play him…but Johnny Depp looks a little bit like the guy. Enter Depp as Dillinger, opening the movie being taken to prison. He later tricks the guards and shortly him and the other convicts escape. And what do you know, Johnny robs some more banks, and the rest is pretty much repeated for the whole two and a half hour runtime. It's only when Christian Bale enters the scene when the movie gets exciting. Bale plays FBI Bureau chief Melvin Purvis, a guy who is just losing his mind over the bank robber. "He's making a mockery of the U.S justice system!" He follows him to cabins, movie theaters, apartments, etc, etc. His role is one of the best in the movie; however not to say that the rest of the cast was bad (Marion Cottilard especially was fantastic), it's that Bale once again really gets into his role as he always does. The Dark Knight, Rescue Dawn, Terminator Salvation. Now remember questions were stirring when the posters for Public Enemies came out and Bale wasn't on any of them? Because this is Depp's movie, not Christian Bale's; he's had his fair share! What Enemies is saying is fairly simple: "Depp is back, bitches."

Michael Mann is no stranger to shoot-em-up flicks. This is the guy who directed Miami Vice, Collateral, Heat and produced The Kingdom, Hancock and Nobody Loves Alice among many others. One thing that you notice is that his style of filmmaking is that of a documentarian or a Michael Bay movie. The gunshot scenes are explosive, yet you won't know who's shooting who or what. My friend even pointed out that the top of the character's heads aren't visible for nearly half of the movie. In the beginning this is kind of funky (did I just say that?), but by the third shoot-out, it's pretty damn annoying.

Public Enemies isn't that bad of a movie, but it's not fantastic either. It is, however, the most historically accurate movie about the golden age of crime I've seen so far. Don't rush out and see it, but don't skip out on what is yet another memorable role for Johnny Depp without Tim Burton.

3/5 stars.

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