Public Enemies (2009)

I was raised on a farm in Moooresville, Indiana. My mama ran out on us when I was three, my daddy beat the hell out of me cause he didn’t know no better way to raise me. I like baseball, movies, good clothes, fast cars, whiskey, and you… what else you need to know?

— John Dillinger

Public Enemies was one of my most anticipated movies of this past summer. I saw the still pictures and the behind the scenes footage at the beginning of the year. I was going to watch this film, but the reviews of the film let out of collective “meh.” I didn’t go. I thought that I might wait for the film to come out on DVD to watch it. I have to concur with the reviews.

Taking place in 1933 in the heart of the Great Depression, John Dillinger (Johnny Depp) is brought to the Indiana State Penitentiary, there is a bold attempt to escape by several inmates; Pete (David Wenham), Homer (Stephen Dorff), Walter (James Russo) and a guard, John (Jason Clarke) with Dillinger in the middle of it.

FBI burueu chief J. Edgar Hoover (Billy Crudup) enlists Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale) to find Dillinger who is in Chicago robbing several banks along their crime spree.

On the wild night on town, John meets Billie Frechette (Marion Cotillard) and they quickly became a couple. With Purvis on their tail, the gang tries to be one step ahead of the fed. Purvis is frustrated that the inadequate people working under him are threatening him arresting Dillinger. When Johnny is finally recaptured, he becomes a celebrity in his own right.

The camerawork that Michael Mann implemented with the digital camera instead of the traditional film works for me. When I saw the trailers for this movie, I was leery with it. Sometimes there is ghosting on the screen, but I felt like I was there with Dillinger and his crew.

The scenes in general are drawn out like a rubber band that you wish that it would break. The story is uninteresting to say the least. I wasn’t expecting a grand gangster film with lots of gunfights, but the characters are shallow, the dialogue is so-so, the movie overall is okay. It’s nothing special. Lastly, this might sound superficial, but the second tier henchmen in this movie looked ridiculous with their bowl hair cut and questionable facial hair.

Judgment: Watch this movie with the sound off and enjoy the visuals.

Rating: **1/2


About Branden

Branden: I am just your average movie nut that reviews films. Gives his take on pop culture and Hollywood happenings. Dreams to have his own thriving website and make a living doing what he is passionate about.

Posted on December 28, 2009, in 2009, Action, Biopic, Crime, Drama, Thriller and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I agree that this was a somewhat disappointing movie. Technically, it’s very good but the movie has no emotional intrigue, it’s shallow as you say.

  2. Thanks for taking one for the team – I’d heard all the same stuff about this being nothing more than a glorified fashion show – and that included a quote from Johnny Depp!

    If there’s really nothing to be “learned” from this film, is it just as well that I give it a pass? More time for other stuff I guess.

  3. mcarteratthemovies

    When you hear that Johnny Depp, Christian Bale AND Marion Cotillard are attached to a movie, the correct human response is to get really, really excited. And I was. Then I saw “Public Enemies,” and near-crushing disappointment took over. Depp clearly has a lot of fun with his part, and mostly that’s infectious, but Bale has turned into a real sourpuss. I know Purvis is The Good Guy, but does Bale have to play him so dull? Where’s all the energy he’s funneled into other, better characters? Cotillard, inherently likable as an actress, is wasted in a part like this.

    • Hearing that cast, you would be jumped for joy. The script is a major problem with the movie. If it was beefed up more, it would have worked. I don’t know if it was the writer’s strike, but the dialogue was wooden.

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