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Public Enemies

7/10
Action . Adventure . Crime . Drama . Thriller . Biography
 

Depression-era bank robber John Dillinger's charm and audacity endear him to much of America's downtrodden public, but he's also a thorn in the side of J. Edgar Hoover and the fledgling FBI. Desperate to capture the elusive outlaw, Hoover makes Dillinger his first Public Enemy Number One and assigns his top agent, Melvin Purvis, the task of bringing him in dead or alive.

 
Actors: Christian Bale , Johnny Depp , Giovanni Ribisi , Billy Crudup , Emilie de Ravin , Channing Tatum , Marion Cotillard , Leelee Sobieski , Domenick Lombardozzi , Stephen Lang , David Wenham , Christian Stolte , Jason Clarke
Directors: Michael Mann
Country: USA , JAPAN
Release: 2009-07-01
More Info:
  • Matthew Sorrento

    This is the purest of American narratives, and this, indeed, is one of our finest storytellers.

    Film Threat Full Review
  • Ian Nathan

    Intelligent and challenging: Mann's crime epic could take two viewings to fully absorb, but it's worth every devoted minute.

    Empire Full Review
  • Scott Foundas

    Mann's exhilarating movie exists in a state of perpetual forward motion.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Kenneth Turan

    Simultaneously an art film and a crime film, Mann's latest work may not give you a ton to hang on to emotionally, but the beauty and skill of the filmmaking keep you tightly in its grasp.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Manohla Dargis

    A grave and beautiful work of art.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    Public Enemies comes at you like Dillinger did: all of a sudden. It's movie dynamite.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Roger Ebert

    This is a very good film, with Depp and Bale performances of brutal clarity. I'm trying to understand why it is not quite a great film. I think it may be because it deprives me of some stubborn need for closure.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    Michael Mann's extraordinary Public Enemies is an unusual sort of gangster picture, a near-impressionistic recreation of the last year in the life of one of American history's most notorious bank robbers.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Michael Sragow

    Without ever telling viewers what to think or how to feel, it raises more questions about the corruption of crime and crime fighting than any expose or thesis.

    Baltimore Sun Full Review
  • Stephanie Zacharek

    The picture throws off an aura of wistfulness, which may be Mann's acknowledgment that of course he can't re-create the past. The best he can do is to honor the idea of it, storybook-style, and to remind us that before there was gangsta, there were gangsters.

    Salon.com Full Review
  • Kimberley Jones

    Cotillard doesn't look part Native American or sound like a Thirties Chicago moll, but damned if she isn't a sight and sound to behold. Whatever her technical limitations, she rises above them to breathe a flesh, blood, and battered verisimilitude into the part. You can't tear your eyes off her, any more than you can Mann's flawed but still engrossing picture.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    It's a fascinating bundle of contradictions -- authentic in a million details, deeply romanticized in others. Cool, calm and collected, this is more love story than gangster picture.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    If Public Enemies lacks anything, it's something audiences can't legitimately expect to find: a certain EXTRA something.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Cammila Albertson

    For people who loved "Heat," this is a tour de force.

    TV Guide Full Review
  • Claudia Puig

    A welcome adult alternative to summer's sophomoric blockbusters. The only transforming going on here is actors skillfully taking on roles of '30s-era gangsters and lawmen.

    USA Today Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    It's quite engaging. It is competently constructed and often compelling, but it will not be mentioned in the same breath as some of its classic predecessors.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Robert Calvert

    This is better than your average bio-pic. The dynamic established between the motivation of Bale’s and Depp’s characters is really what makes this film. Kudos also go out to Channing Tatum as Pretty Boy Floyd.

    Premiere Full Review
  • Shawn Levy

    The problem here is that while some of Mann's work is overwhelmingly great, the sum of it simply never compels.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    Public Enemies has incidental pleasures (its hi-def video palette is fascinatingly weird), but it’s only Depp’s sense of fun that keeps it from being a period gangster museum piece.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    Marvelously detailed and meticulously crafted, an elegant evocation of Depression-era America and its fascination with crime. What the movie lacks is any sense of elation--it’s joyless by choice.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • J.R. Jones

    Mann excels at staging the chaotic bank jobs and bloody shootouts that were just a day at the office for Dillinger, but even at 140 minutes the movie is so dense with incident that there isn't much room for cultural comment or character development.

    Chicago Reader Full Review
  • Lisa Schwarzbaum

    As filmmaker Michael Mann takes pains to emphasize in his handsome, underheated gangster drama Public Enemies, the gent may have been murderous, but he had style.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    Could have used a lot more grit. Without it, we're left with a crime movie fantasia that slips all too easily into the ether.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    Ultimately, the movie's a bust.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Joe Neumaier

    You see the spark of 'this is cool!,' but you don't sense a purpose. The underconceived Public Enemies suffers from that lack of drive, though Johnny Depp is so urgent and charismatic as John Dillinger, he provides enough firepower to make the film legit.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • David Denby

    Yet, for all its skill, Public Enemies is not quite a great movie. There’s something missing--a sense of urgency and discovery, a more complicated narrative path, a shrewder, tougher sense of who John Dillinger is.

    The New Yorker Full Review
  • Keith Phipps

    Mann reduces a legendary game of cat-and-mouse to the size of a standard police procedural. His refusal to mythologize Dillinger’s exploits is audacious, but too much of Public Enemies feels disappointingly smaller than life.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Kirk Honeycutt

    The film lacks the juice promised by the teaming of such extraordinary filmmakers with a cast as large as a Hooverville encampment.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Lou Lumenick

    Disappointing, curiously uninvolving.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    The parts, in other words, promise a brilliant whole. So why is this movie one of the signal disappointments of the year? You have to go back to the basics: Public Enemies has everything going for it except a reason and a script.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Liam Lacey

    Perhaps the most regrettable crime here is the way that Mann, trying to do too much, robs himself of a great opportunity. Here was a chance to capture the drama of the Thirties.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Dana Stevens

    It's like spending an afternoon--a long one--at a beautifully lit wax-museum display inspired by earlier gangster movies.

    Slate Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    Oddly, too, the film is somewhat shortchanged by its great star, Johnny Depp, who disappointingly has chosen to play Dillinger as self-consciously cool rather than earthy and gregarious.

    Variety Full Review
  • Dan Zak

    It's also a double-barreled bummer. There's no excitement in the bank-robbing, no thrill of the chase, no emotion over justice served or thwarted. Depp's Dillinger is neither charming nor despicable, nor does he occupy that delicious gray area between the two. His spree unspools dispassionately, cold as a Colt .380.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Richard Corliss

    It lacks overall focus, and at the end you may have a question for Michael Mann: Why'dyou bother? [July 6, 2009, p.59]

    Time Full Review
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