"gritty and engaging piece of cinema which included an outstanding performance from the one and only, Mr Johnny Depp"
I wasn't familiar with John Dillinger prior to seeing Public Enemies, history was never my strong suit and I don't recall studying American history, so for those of you that are unsure, Public Enemies is a gritty and well made film chronicling the life of American folk hero John Dillinger.
Johnny Depp portrays John Dillinger, a suave, cocky and somewhat arrogant criminal mastermind, who in 1930's Chicago crippled the banks with cleverly orchestrated bank robberies. One thing that we are all probably guilty of is forgetting just how good Johnny Depp is, he is very good at portraying the villain with heart. Regardless of how charismatic Dillinger was in real life, Depp makes him a wholeheartedly likable rogue, while Bale's intense performance as haunted FBI chief Melvin Purvis comes across as the villain at times. It's not an uncommon switch to relate to the bad guy, but I'm not convinced the balanced worked here. Academy Award winning french actress Marion Cotillard plays Billie Frechette, Dillingers' love interest, she is equally brilliant with her portrayal.
Although the supporting cast gave excellent performances "Public Enemies" focuses on Dillinger and Billie so much so that the supporting characters get lost with meaning and the sub plots have too many holes.
Michael Mann puts forth an earnest effort but alas this is not one of his best work; either with screenplay or direction. The film lacks suspense and drama. On a plus point, he does a lot of research that brings a rarely seen realism to the era. The setting of this is 1930's America, this has been expertly recreated by the film making team, some of the locations were restored for the film, (the Biograph Theatre in Chicago, and the 'safe haven' Little Bohemia ranch).
In these familiar financial times, Michael Mann has done a brilliant job in bringing the memory of Dillinger to cinema. So all in all and forgetting the misleading title, I found Public Enemies to be a gritty and engaging piece of cinema which included an outstanding performance from the one and only, Mr Johnny Depp.