- Director:Michael Mann
- Cast:Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, Billy Crudup, Johnny Depp
- Release Date:July 30, 2009
- Running time:130 minutes
- Film Worth:$14.00
- FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
Director Michael Mann’s return to crime is a breathtaking gangster movie shot in unusual though spectacular digital high definition.
Michael Mann's return to crime was worth the wait. After the only occasional brilliance of Miami Vice, Public Enemies feels more assured. It's not classic Mann, but some of it is truly breathtaking. Drawn from the great book by Bryan Burrough, this action-filled gangster movie focuses on the short and spectacular bank robbing career of John Dillinger, who in life, according to both fact and legend, was funny, charming, and good looking. Johnny Depp is perfect casting. His nemesis was Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale), a stoic lawman who pursues Dillinger in the name of the newly formed FBI.
This being a Mann film, it's not hard to pick which character ends up being the more sympathetic. Still, typically, Mann doesn't make it easy on the audience, as Dillinger was a brutal killer and a limited human being. He was also a superb craftsman (if you can say that ripping off banks was a craft), and has no illusions about his life or himself. In Mann's cinematic universe, that's a virtue.
Aside from this complex portrait of an anti-hero, Public Enemies delivers gun battles that rival Heat, and a meticulous recreation of thirties America which is captured in a hi-def digital camera style that is beautiful and weird, and realistic and "plastic" at the same time. Public Enemies also has Mann's most satisfying romance since Heat, with Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose) excellent as Dillinger's girl.
But in amongst the ferocious and frequent brutal violence, Mann finds that singular moment that fans of the director have come to look forward to and cherish. It's the bit in the movie where Mann's anti-hero comes face to face with his fate, and only the audience is there to share the sad truth with him. It's that deep connection with emotion and character that makes Mann's movies so special.