Public Enemies – Movie Review
In the action-thriller Public Enemies, filmmaker Michael Mann directs Johnny Depp, Christian Bale and Academy Award® winner Marion Cotillard in the story of legendary Depression-era outlaw John Dillinger (Depp), the charismatic bank robber whose lightning raids made him a folk hero to much of the downtrodden public — and the number one target of J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI and its top agent, Melvin Purvis (Bale). While his charm and audacity endeared Dillinger to the American public, the fledgling FBI decided to exploit their quest for the outlaw’s capture, branding him America’s first “Public Enemy Number One,” in order to elevate the FBI into a national police force.
“Public Enemies” Stars Johnny Depp and Christian Bale and should have been a story that was absolutely thrilling about a really interesting time in American history during the Depression when John Dillinger robbed banks and was still a folk hero because he never took money from any of the civilians in the bank. He just took the bank’s money and Christian Bale plays the hot detective, chasing Depp. The problem among other things, is one of focus here. Michael Mann is certainly a talented director, and the look of the movie could be men in black hats and black shiny cars. Johnny Depp is supposed to be the hero, but he is in fact robbing banks. Christian Bale is relentless and we’ve seen our Elliot Ness kind of guy beforehand, and J. Edgar Hoover is engagingly played by Billy Crudup, who is nearly unrecognizable, but terrific as kind of a fake J. Edgar Hoover. The problem is that you don’t actually care about any of the people in the movie at some point, and given the fact that it’s a two and a half hour movie, you sort of long for what it could have been, as opposed to what it is. Two stars.