Public Enemies

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70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 406 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: No one could stop Dillinger and his gang. No jail could hold him. His charm and audacious jailbreaks endeared him to almost everyone—from his girlfriend Billie Frechette to an American public who had no sympathy for the banks that had plunged the country into the Depression. But while theNo one could stop Dillinger and his gang. No jail could hold him. His charm and audacious jailbreaks endeared him to almost everyone—from his girlfriend Billie Frechette to an American public who had no sympathy for the banks that had plunged the country into the Depression. But while the adventures of Dillinger's gang thrilled many, Hoover made Dillinger America's first Public Enemy Number One. (Universal Pictures) Expand
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35
  1. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    100
    Intelligent and challenging: Mann's crime epic could take two viewings to fully absorb, but it's worth every devoted minute.
  2. Simultaneously an art film and a crime film, Mann's latest work may not give you a ton to hang on to emotionally, but the beauty and skill of the filmmaking keep you tightly in its grasp.
  3. 88
    Without ever telling viewers what to think or how to feel, it raises more questions about the corruption of crime and crime fighting than any expose or thesis.
  4. Reviewed by: Robert Calvert
    75
    This is better than your average bio-pic. The dynamic established between the motivation of Bale’s and Depp’s characters is really what makes this film. Kudos also go out to Channing Tatum as Pretty Boy Floyd.
  5. As filmmaker Michael Mann takes pains to emphasize in his handsome, underheated gangster drama Public Enemies, the gent may have been murderous, but he had style.
  6. You see the spark of 'this is cool!,' but you don't sense a purpose. The underconceived Public Enemies suffers from that lack of drive, though Johnny Depp is so urgent and charismatic as John Dillinger, he provides enough firepower to make the film legit.
  7. Reviewed by: Dan Zak
    50
    It's also a double-barreled bummer. There's no excitement in the bank-robbing, no thrill of the chase, no emotion over justice served or thwarted. Depp's Dillinger is neither charming nor despicable, nor does he occupy that delicious gray area between the two. His spree unspools dispassionately, cold as a Colt .380.

See all 35 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 57 out of 122
  2. Negative: 30 out of 122
  1. May 21, 2013
    10
    Honesty is a rare and often sought after trait in any individual, and when we see Johnny Depp portray one of the most notorious criminals inHonesty is a rare and often sought after trait in any individual, and when we see Johnny Depp portray one of the most notorious criminals in American history, we see exactly what Depression era bank robber John Dillinger was all about, upfront and straight to the point...honest.
    Whether he was a bad person or a man simply following what he was good at is anyones guess, but Michael Mann brilliantly focuses on exactly what Dillinger was known for, holding up banks. We don't need a backstory or a setup for how he took on such a job, we just see what we expect to see, but with Dillinger we see someone who isn't someone we would expect.
    After a daring escape from a penitentiary, Dillinger and his friends, including Red (Jason Clarke) and Harry Pierpont (David Wenham), Dillinger is already setting up his next heist, during a great crime wave in the midst of the Depression.
    Dillinger uses his charm to woo Billie Frechette (Marion Cotillard) who he is entirely honest with in his robbery prowess. She accepts his life and his determination to be with her, while Dillinger and his friends continue to evade the Bureau of Investigation, leading the hunt is Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale) who took down Pretty Boy Floyd and is now on the hunt for Dillinger.
    After several near misses and even a capture, Dillinger brims with confidence at how everyone seems to be at his feet, which Depp perfectly encapsulates. He brings the slick, handsome and straight cut personality to the role that we know from the history of John Dillinger, but with so much more, a scene where he walks freely through the department searching for him is tense, wonderful and also a perfect rendition of how Dillinger liked to live his life. But to quote the film, bank robberies are not getting any easier to pull, and when the Bureau lands down hard, tragedy and blood follow Dillinger wherever he goes. But his only wish is to be with Billie.
    Shot in digital high def, Public Enemies looks truly dazzling, the cinematography added with the intense close-ups create a documentary type feel that is reminiscent of the story that is on show. The big cast includes Channing Tatum, a very underrated yet brilliant turn of J. Edgar Hoover by Billy Crudup, Stephen Dorff, Giovanni Ribisi and Stephen Lang.
    We can only go by what we are told by the history books, but Dillinger was indeed a colourful character nonetheless and Michael Mann has told an excellent story and created a moving and focused film.
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  2. [Anonymous]
    Jul 1, 2009
    10
    Can't think of a single Mann, Depp, or Bale film that rises above this. The viewer's intelligence is respected; his expectations as Can't think of a single Mann, Depp, or Bale film that rises above this. The viewer's intelligence is respected; his expectations as a film goer are indulged . . . everything I could have hoped for and more. Depp nailed Dillinger - what a performance - what a cast - what a truly entertaining film! Expand
  3. IvankaG.
    Jul 1, 2009
    9
    Interesting that the lowest review score here is 50. Even the highest rated movies here have some scathing reviews. I think this movie was a Interesting that the lowest review score here is 50. Even the highest rated movies here have some scathing reviews. I think this movie was a bold move on Mann's part - it's being packaged and presented as a summer fun movie, but it's something much deeper. Mann didn't compromise at all on this, he brought his unique vision to the screen - those who understand it, think it's brilliant; the rest of them can't say any worse than 2 of 4 stars. If you have any expectations whatsoever of a lush, Hollywood period piece like Road to Perdition, leave those at the door. This is like a 40's gangster movie remade by Paul Greengrass. We're simply spectators watching events unfold in the last months of Dillinger's life. This is not about backstory or the typical screenwriting devices. Just watch this beautiful, documentary-like vision unfold. The final segment (even the naysayers agree) is profoundly well done and worth the ticket price alone. The shootout at Little Bohemia comes close. Depp, Cotillard and Bale are excellent. Bale's character was a boring guy in real life - read the book - so Bale's restraint is appropriate here. Expand
  4. TonyO.
    Aug 13, 2009
    6
    Not bad, but a bit unnecessary. Depp is fine, Bale slightly less so. Lots of machine gun fights, some dull car chases, lots of mildly Not bad, but a bit unnecessary. Depp is fine, Bale slightly less so. Lots of machine gun fights, some dull car chases, lots of mildly interesting gang interactions which lead nowhere in particular, and (of course) the obligatory OTT torture scene that every American crime movie seems to have these days. But it is a french/native american woman that gets tortured by brutal fat FBI agents, so no harm done! All in all, vapid narrative, but well directed. Expand
  5. Sep 12, 2010
    5
    when i went to see this movie there was just something about it which made it not an enjoyable experience. the story was fine and well inwhen i went to see this movie there was just something about it which made it not an enjoyable experience. the story was fine and well in sequence with the events that occurred in real life with a few changes. however there wasn't enough suspense provided especially since most people will have known what would happen. however the acting does save the movie in most points Expand
  6. LeonK.
    Jul 1, 2009
    4
    Michael Manns frantic technique is no substitute for solid storytelling. Style undermines substance and results in a messy and lifeless movie Michael Manns frantic technique is no substitute for solid storytelling. Style undermines substance and results in a messy and lifeless movie with no real center, and few surprises. Expand
  7. feelmethere
    Jul 1, 2009
    0
    This movie is not what I expected. I expected a good movie. I guess I'll just watch Juno again. The acting is extremely mechanicalThis movie is not what I expected. I expected a good movie. I guess I'll just watch Juno again. The acting is extremely mechanical especially from Christian bale, he was the worst. There was nothing left at the end if the movie, I felt empty. Since the oscar has changed the best picture nominees to ten movies I thought for sure this is gonna be one of them. If there's humanity in awards thus movie will be left alone, as it it should be. Wasn't worth my time. Just gave me a negative opinion. If this movie was Santa he'd be very hated. Expand

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