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Movie review by David Blackwell
140 minutes, rated R
STUDIO:  Universal Studios/ Relativity Media/ Forward Pass/ Misher Films/ Tribeca Productions/ Appian Way
Theatrical RELEASE DATE:  7-1-2009
STARRING Johnny Depp (John Dillinger),  Christian Bale (Melvin Purvis), James Russo, Marion Cotillard (Billie Frechette)
WRITTEN by Michael Mann and Roman Bennett and Ann Biderman, based on the book by Bryan Burrough
DIRECTED by Michael Mann

PUBLIC ENEMIES focuses on the last few years of John Dillinger as he robs banks and falls for a coat check girl named Billie.   Tough FBI Agent Melvin Purvis is appointed the head of the Chicago field office by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.    Purvis is as cold as some of the crooks he catches.  He knows he needs agents with old fashioned ways of fighting criminals that he calls in former Texas Rangers from Oklahoma and Texas to stop Dillinger and Baby Face Nelson.   Meanwhile, Dillinger lives life without thinking about tomorrow.   Will he think about it before it’s too late? 


PUBLIC ENEMEIES is like HEAT on steroids.  Where HEAT had one shoot out, PUBLIC ENEMIES has several.    Michael Mann directed the film to look like it’s a documentary with its digital grain much like the approach he used for COLLATERAL.   Johnny Depp makes Dillinger very likeable and sympathetic.   Compared to Dillinger, Agent Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale) is as bad as some of the criminals he is trying to stop.   Baby Face Nelson is a psycho compared to Purvis and Dillinger.  In the middle of the movie is a tragic love story between Dillinger and his girl.   PUBLIC ENEMIES is one of the best movies of this summer alongside STAR TREK.


This review is (c)7-6-2009 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com