Saturday, December 19, 2009

Public Enemies - DVD Review


Starring Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, Jason Clarke, Rory Cochrane, Billy Crudup, Stephen Dorff, Stephen Davis, Stephen Lang, David Wenham, Giovanni Ribisi, Lili Taylor and Leelee Sobieski.
Directed by Michael Mann.

Few directors are reliable as Michael Mann to produce a good-looking picture. Set piece after set piece is a beauty to behold. It recalls the glossy fun of Brian DePalma's The Untouchables while still taking on some melancholy meditation a la The Assassination of Jesse James.

Johnny Depp is solid as John Dillinger, the notorious bank-robber who became a Robin Hood type anti-hero as he robbed banks and gave some money back to the poorer folks. There's just enough menace there to know this man has no problem killin', but he's in it for the money.

Hot on his heels is FBI man Melvin Purvis, played with blank honor by Christian Bale. Purvis becomes the face of the newly-formed FBI after he cpatures and kills Pretty Boy Floyd, much to the delight and later jealousy of J. Edgar Hoover (Billy Crudup).

Mann's experimenting here with some scenes, the camera swooping and jerking at times. The gunfights feel realistic and the mannerisms period.

It isn't always historically accurate (for instance, Pretty Boy Floyd was killed a month AFTER John Dillinger) and emotionally it may be closer to Miami Vice than Collateral, but sometimes it's nice to watch a talented guy at work.

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