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

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 319 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 the adventures of Dillinger's gang thrilled many, Hoover made Dillinger America's first Public Enemy Number One. (Universal Pictures) Expand
  • Director: Michael Mann
  • Genre(s): Biography, Drama, History, Thriller, Romance, Crime
  • Rating: R
  • Runtime: 140 min
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35
  1. Reviewed by: Matthew Sorrento
    This is the purest of American narratives, and this, indeed, is one of our finest storytellers.
  2. A grave and beautiful work of art.
  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. 75
    The problem here is that while some of Mann's work is overwhelmingly great, the sum of it simply never compels.
  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. 60
    Yet, for all its skill, Public Enemies is not quite a great movie. There’s something missing--a sense of urgency and discovery, a more complicated narrative path, a shrewder, tougher sense of who John Dillinger is.
  7. Reviewed by: Dan Zak
    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: 72 out of 120
  2. Negative: 30 out of 120
  1. May 21, 2013
    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 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.
  2. [Anonymous]
    Jul 1, 2009
    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. MaxB.
    Jul 2, 2009
    I really hope everyone who is interested in this movie goes to see it this weekend. It's a very well-done crime saga that will reward a patient, thoughtful viewer. Please show Hollywood that not every movie-goer is a young child (Ice Age 3) or has the mentality of a 14-year-old boy (Transformers 2). Expand
  4. EvinC
    Aug 12, 2009
    Boring but the acting is well done. Rent it. see if it's your taste.
  5. TimothyT
    Oct 15, 2009
    The production and acting were amazing; it's just too bad that the whole thing is portrayed as a series of events, and not so much as a plot. It also manages to get repetitive. Expand
  6. Rita
    Jan 16, 2010
    All style, no substance. Paper thin characters. A long music video passing itself off as a movie.
  7. feelmethere
    Jul 1, 2009
    This 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

See all 120 User Reviews