Public Enemies (2009)
Ignoring a couple of lame scenes, and certain lack of emotion, "Public Enemies" comes across as decen gangster movie, designed with an eye towards slick prestige without reaching artificiality. It recreates the atmosphere of the time, the so called golden era of bank robberies through the escapades of John Dillenger. Shooting in digital Mann brings his usual expertise at accuracy, authenticity and lends an epic scale to the story as well as creating a number of thrilling action sequences particularly an elongated shoot out at a country lodge. The acting is generally high calibre and both leads are convincing, and Depp is admirably restrained as Dillinger when compared with his more recent wilder roles. Marion Cotillard transforms a generic girlfriend role into a force of nature. Although she's absent for much of the film, she steals literally every scene she appears in. And then there's Christian Bale, a once extraordinary new talent who has lately been letting the side down with a string of one-note performances as boring alpha males. Here, he is marginally better but sadly isn't strong enough to maintain the conflict established between himself and Mr. Depp. Ultimately Mann has the characters, era and time to create a true classic of American crime but clings too close to the well worn confines of the genre and ultimately the film could really be about anyone and set anywhere and have a near identical plot. That is not to say it's a bad film, it's a solid one, but Mann had the scope and actors to aim so much higher that it is hard not to be disappointed and a little frustrated with the end result.
- My Rating: 6.75/10
- Rotten Tomatoes: 67% (6.3/10)
- IMDb: 7.3/10