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Public Enemies

Released on 02 November 2009

Featuring: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale & Channing Tatum

Format: DVD | Rating: 15 years & over

4.0 out of 5 (27 customer reviews) | Write a review

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Acclaimed filmmaker Michael Mann directs Johnny Depp, Christian Bale and Oscar winner Marion Cotillard in the story of Depression-era outlaw John Dillinger: the charismatic bank robber who was relentlessly pursued by renowned FBI agent Melvin Purvis in a legendary game of cat-and-mouse.

Play.com Review

Collateral helmer Michael Mann has consistently blurred the line between commercial and arthouse cinema with films such as The Insider. In tackling Bryan Burrough's non-fiction book, Public Enemies: The True Story of America's Greatest Crime Wave, he has created one of the most challenging and engrossing big budget movies of 2009. A film which sits very comfortably in Mann's oeuvre, Public Enemies revisits several of his cinematic preoccupations, none more so than his obsession with the fine grey line between crime fighter and criminal.

John Dillinger's story is a fascinating one, ingrained in the history of Depression-era America and the technological revolution that changed lives overnight. The famous gangster has also been depicted in a number of other movies such as Max Nosseck's Dillinger (1945) and John Milius' 1973 version starring Warren Oates. However, Mann's take is an all-together more ambitious attempt to depict the legend, eschewing myth building in favour of realism and meticulous detail. Filmed by LA Confidential cinematographer and frequent collaborator Dante Spinotti in high-definition digital, the movie captures everything in crystal-clear clarity. This technical bravado is rooted in both the past and the present and makes for a particularly unique viewing experience.

If the film rejects glamorisation, it can't help but fall for the charms of John Depp (Sweeney Todd) as Dillinger. Depp plays Dillinger as a man driven by money and celebrity, constantly on the edge of good and evil. Meanwhile, Christian Bale (Terminator Salvation) tackles FBI machine Melvin Purvis with steely determination, a man born into wealth but consumed by his obsession to hunt down his prey, mirroring Bale's infamous dedication to his craft. The setup is reminiscent of Mann's Heat, but it's the introduction of Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose) as Billie Frechett that opens up the picture. As much a love story as it is a gangster pic, you'll be hard pressed to take your eyes of the smouldering scenes between Cotillard and Johnny as the doomed lovers. Other notable performances come courtesy of Channing Tatum (Fighting), Giovanni Ribisi (Avatar) and Manhunter's Stephen Lang.

Weaving storylines, cityscapes and brutal violence, Public Enemies batters the conventional biopic into the ground and finishes it off with a few rounds from a tommy gun. An alternative to the summer blockbusters, this is a brilliantly constructed, superbly acted thriller with feeling, not short of the inspired action set pieces Mann is renowned for. Bearing up to multiple viewings, we'd strongly recommend that you check out this superior piece of filmmaking and pay your respects to one of the only auteurs working in the American movie industry.

  • Commentary With Director Michael Mann

customer Reviews

 Average rating (27 reviews)

 Under par for a fantastic cast

| | See all alexsmith1's reviews (2)

Jonny Depp one of the best current actors and Christian Bale who is also a quality actor and this film never really gets going. Not a good gangster film or action film. Good acting in a poor film.

 This is such a brilliant movie, a must see!

| | See all Shaughnessy96's reviews (21)

Wow this film really for some reason last month after seeing it early this year, I thought I don't think that was as good as I thought it to be? I couldn't have been more wrong. Johnny Depp is sensational as John Dillinger, and just had be glued to the screen in awe.

You don't have to be interested in Johnny Depp, interested in movies set in old times, you've just got to be interested in good films. That should be enough.

 Better than I thought

| | See all nikinoonoo's reviews (346)

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I am not a fan of Johnny Depp, however I thought he was marvellous in this lavish film about the crimes of John Dillinger. The film has a very real feel to it and is wonderfully directed by Michael Mann. Christian Bale is also on top form as FBI man Melvin Purvis, however Marion Cottillard is slightly miscast as Dillinger's moll. British actor, Stephen Graham plays 'Baby Face' Nelson, again though he is miscast and completely overacts. Everything else though is spot on.

 not what you think....

| | See all fruitymoomin's reviews (2)

Im a huge Johnny Depp fan, but i wasnt overly convinced by this movie.
I expected an action-packed exciting film, but was left feeling a bit dissapointed by the slow scenes and love.
I would still recommend it, but dont expect too much from it...


| | See all redstar14's reviews (1)

After seeing the trailer for the film I thought it was going to be really good. However, the all-star cast did not make up for the fact that most of the film was just about people shooting other people. There was very little plot and in the end I did not even care who lived or died. The only conciliation is that Johnny Depp looked very, very good!

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ActorsJohnny Depp, Christian Bale, Channing Tatum, Billy Crudup, Leelee Sobieski, Giovanni Ribisi, David Wenham, Emilie de Ravin, Marion Cotillard, Stephen Dorff, Rory Cochrane, Lili Taylor, Channing Tatum, Stephen Lang & Stephen Graham
DirectorMichael Mann
Certificate15 years and over
ScreenWidescreen 2.40:1 Anamorphic
LanguagesEnglish - Dolby Digital (5.1)
Additional LanguagesHungarian
SubtitlesArabic ; English for the hearing impaired ; Danish ; Dutch ; Finnish ; Hungarian ; Icelandic ; Norwegian ; Swedish
Duration2 hours and 14 minutes (approx)
RegionRegion 2 - Will only play on European Region 2 or multi-region DVD players.