Universal Pictures | Release Date: July 1, 2009
7.2
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 436 Ratings
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Positive:
295
Mixed:
90
Negative:
51
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6
JohnB.Jul 8, 2009
With the actors and storyline they had, they could have made this movie great...but there were too many pointless scenes, they could have made this much shorter and more interesting. they left out many interesting aspects of dilingers With the actors and storyline they had, they could have made this movie great...but there were too many pointless scenes, they could have made this much shorter and more interesting. they left out many interesting aspects of dilingers robberies (like the fact that he used to go into the banks pretending that they were shooting a movie so when they went in to rob it the people outside thought it was a movie shoot...but this was not shown in the movie). overall, not a horrible movie, but i expected more..i say wait for the dvd. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful
5
DyingBreedJan 31, 2011
Public Enemies is really just another forgettable Gangster movie, with the exception of Johnny Depp there really isn't very much to like about this film.
4 of 5 users found this helpful41
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5
ZacD.Jul 16, 2009
For me, the film failed to deliver so much that was promised by the reputable cast. A meaningless concession of gunfights does not constitute a storyline.
0 of 1 users found this helpful
5
Andy92Sep 12, 2010
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 in sequence with the events that occurred in real life with a few changes. however there wasn't enoughwhen 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
0 of 2 users found this helpful02
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6
ChadS.Jul 3, 2009
[***SELF-POLICING SPOILER ALERT*** With "Goodfellas", filmmaker Martin Scorsese had fire and ice on his hands too, in which the gangsters played by Ray Liotta(Henry Hill) and Joe Pesci(Tommy DeVito) were studies in contrast, as are John [***SELF-POLICING SPOILER ALERT*** With "Goodfellas", filmmaker Martin Scorsese had fire and ice on his hands too, in which the gangsters played by Ray Liotta(Henry Hill) and Joe Pesci(Tommy DeVito) were studies in contrast, as are John Dillinger(Johnny Depp) and Baby Face Nelson(Stephen Graham) in "Public Enemies". Unlike the hot-headed Tommy, an honest-to-goodness sociopath, Henry was a pretty cool customer, reticient even, much to Tommy's mother's irritation, who complains to her scumbag son that his friend doesn't say much, in the scene where the mafiosos sit down(along with Robert DeNiro) for an after hours meal. In "Public Enemies", Dillinger, the way Depp plays him, is so in control of his emotions, it's easy to forget that he robs banks for a living. The gangster needs to go beserk, just once, to prove he has a pulse, like Henry, who pistol-whips a guy when the neighbor gets fresh with his girlfriend Karen(Lorraine Bracco). Does Dillinger love Billie Frechette(Marion Cotillard) enough to bash in a guy's head with his gun? It's hard to tell because Depp's performance is way, way, way too modulated. This ain't a Jim Jarmusch film, right? Dillinger is no James Cagney, and that's the filmmaker's point(case and point, the gangster watches a gangster film: in the bijou, W.S. Van Dyke's "Manhattan Melodrama" is playing); he was just a man. But these are the movies, so although the reluctance to mythologize Dillinger was a mature decision("Public Enemies" docu-dramatizes him), the potential for an engrossing anti-hero was sacrificed in the process. Baby Face Nelson, on the other hand, now that's our Cagney(he does an imitation of him to some bar patrons in one scene), that's our spark plug, but alas, Graham's rendering of Dillinger's right-hand man is sadly underused. It's the "Dead Man" who gets to quote the Hollywood legend, in a scene where Dillinger tries to put Billy's mind at ease about his dangerous occupation, boasting that he's on "top of the world", just like Cagney did in Samuel Fuller's "White Heat". Too bad he sounds so unconvincing. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
4
CydneyS.Jul 2, 2009
Ridiculously violent.. dialogue too muddled to hear. What a waste of 140 minutes.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
JonathanGJul 23, 2009
Public Enemies is a strange film, a hodgepodge of melodrama, crime, action and romance. In trying to juggle all these elements, the audience ends up seeing the film
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
ChrisS.Jul 30, 2009
I have always enjoyed Johnny Depps Films, this was in my opinion in the middle of 6 and seven... Depp was Dillinger in my eye's, but, Dillinger was somtimes not what I was hoping, yes he was a bank robber that knew what he was doing, butI have always enjoyed Johnny Depps Films, this was in my opinion in the middle of 6 and seven... Depp was Dillinger in my eye's, but, Dillinger was somtimes not what I was hoping, yes he was a bank robber that knew what he was doing, but the movie started to get slow in the middle, to about 3/4's in... It did start back up and in overal i though it was a good film... Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
4
JeffD.Jul 4, 2009
On the way to nowhere in a boring slow car. Unfocussed. Great scenery, but poor writing, directing and just average acting. A big snooze!
0 of 0 users found this helpful
4
DWillyJul 6, 2009
Oh, how the mighty Michael Mann has fallen. Outside the theater, I ran into the great writer/director Robert Towne who, when I asked if he liked the film, said: "No. And I have to take some time to think about what's happened to Oh, how the mighty Michael Mann has fallen. Outside the theater, I ran into the great writer/director Robert Towne who, when I asked if he liked the film, said: "No. And I have to take some time to think about what's happened to movies." I volunteered that I thought it had something to do with the making of a virtue out of dispassion. In any case, this movie is dull. Johhny Depp is not at all suited to play this kind of part, and I found myself during his scenes much more fascinated that the filmmakers would think, shot as it is in High Def video, that it would be acceptable for us to plainly see he's wearing make up. Christian Bale is dreadful. I'd love if he could perform in anything with a pinky's worth of the intensity of feeling he shows when going after a crew member or his mother and sister. The action had very few touches, just lots of Tommy guns blasting without much effect, and, all around, was pretty much pointless: nothing about how hard economics evokes a certain personality trait, or that some men take badly to authority or they love thrills or that even if we want to see those old days as quaint, they were in fact brutal. Just blah, blah, bang. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
GeraldFJul 8, 2009
Horribly shaky camera work. Half the time couldn't recognize the characters because of shakiness. No characters got my sympathy or emotional connection. Nice representation of '30s styles and environs.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
EvinCAug 12, 2009
Boring but the acting is well done. Rent it. see if it's your taste.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
4
JimSSep 6, 2009
Sound on or sound off, it is the same movie. Visually exciting, but that is about it. Dull uninteresting characters. Are we really to believe that John Dillinger never laughed or had a good time! Although it gives an accurate historical Sound on or sound off, it is the same movie. Visually exciting, but that is about it. Dull uninteresting characters. Are we really to believe that John Dillinger never laughed or had a good time! Although it gives an accurate historical timeline, it fails to connect on any emotional level. All style, no substance; on balance a mostly forgettable film. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
TimothyTOct 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.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
GailB.Jul 1, 2009
S L O W, tedious, boring, no character depth, very little story, could have been a 20 minute selected short.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
4
LeonK.Jul 1, 2009
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.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
4
CamilleJul 1, 2009
I should have loved this movie. I like and appreciate many of the actors and I love crime dramas and heist movies. This wasn't either of those things. This movie was boring, plain and simple. Performances were wooden, facts were implied I should have loved this movie. I like and appreciate many of the actors and I love crime dramas and heist movies. This wasn't either of those things. This movie was boring, plain and simple. Performances were wooden, facts were implied rather than explained, and I wasn't rooting for either side. Depp never felt like the anti-hero he was supposed to; I didn't care whether or not he was caught. And Bale didn't inspire me as the hand of righteousness he was supposed to represent; I didn't care whether or not he captured Dillanger. And story and acting aside, the film itself looked like it was shot on a handheld digital camera, which often took me out of the movie theater and made me feel like I was watching the homework assignment of a film student. Plus, the movie was more than two hours long. Had I not been with a group of friends, I would have walked out and saved myself an extra hour of my life. All in all, it wasn't the worst movie I've seen, but I expected more that what was delivered and as an avid movie-goer, I was pretty disappointed. I would have much rather spent my $10 seeing Star Trek again. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
4
CeejayJul 3, 2009
Pretty boring. I spent drifting into my mind and then back to the movie. By the last half hour I was wondering if leaving would be a better idea.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
AaronM.Jul 6, 2009
This movie is just a modern day depiction of glorified violence. The strength of the movie should have been its focus on the characters, and finding a connection to their basic humanness, which happens pretty well in the first half of the This movie is just a modern day depiction of glorified violence. The strength of the movie should have been its focus on the characters, and finding a connection to their basic humanness, which happens pretty well in the first half of the movie. Seeing John Dillinger among every day folk just a little while after robbing a bank is fascinating! Seeing an everyday girl take on the challenge of dating a John Dillinger is fascinating! That said, the blood and gore that becomes a focus in the second half is a unnecessary distraction that just brings the movie down to a subpar level, and leaves you wishing the movie had done something more. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
SteveGJul 7, 2009
Thin story, some odd casting choices and pretty poor dialogue make for a heavily stylized, but ultimately empty gangster picture: a gangster picture where all the joy and fun has been sapped out of it.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
viktorgNov 30, 2009
I like very much Depp´s interpretations, but in this movie. I liked more the second part of the movie, but i bored a lot.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
StuartCJul 13, 2009
Very disappointing given those involved.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
FantasyJul 15, 2009
The movie was just okay nothing special. It would have been so much better if we could have looked into the life of the boy and then the man to understand what made him unique. Not enough character development on all the other characters either.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
markj.Jul 17, 2009
I so wanted to like this movie. I went to it hoping to see another "Bonnie and Clyde." The film I saw was slow, lacking in tension, "artsy" to a fault and ultimately disappointing. I was particularly disappointed with Depp's I so wanted to like this movie. I went to it hoping to see another "Bonnie and Clyde." The film I saw was slow, lacking in tension, "artsy" to a fault and ultimately disappointing. I was particularly disappointed with Depp's interpretation of Dilliinger. Depp captured the smoldering anger in the man, but none of his well-documented, rock star charm that beguiled the press, public and police alike. Was there any other bank robber in history who gave chairs to women during hold-ups? Who else but Dillinger would return to the scene of a robbery an hour after the crime, casually chat up the police and then leave on a city bus? These and other extraordinary true incidences were not in "Public Enemies" and the film is poorer for it. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
JonB.Jul 3, 2009
It's a mix between Miller's Crossings and Heat. That being said, in every aspect it isn't as good as Heat. Surprisingly, Depp's acting is rather bland and Bale is his typical no frills and no emotion robot.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
LandonB.Jul 4, 2009
Beautifully shot and well-acted, I still found this movie strangely uninvolving. It seemed more like a museum piece than a movie. Even the action segments iin the film seemed cold and distant. Actually, I was bored and disappointed.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
WarrenO.Jul 5, 2009
The movie begins with a good action scene, but it never settles down to give some historical background of the 30s or Dillinger himself, aside from a few quick lines. The scene in the Wisconsin woods at night starts well--the night forest The movie begins with a good action scene, but it never settles down to give some historical background of the 30s or Dillinger himself, aside from a few quick lines. The scene in the Wisconsin woods at night starts well--the night forest looks really interesting, but what follows is just rapid cutting of vague action. The movie just didn't grab me, and Dillinger was an interesting person in history. I'm gonna rent the 1973 version called "Dillinger" since I haven't seen it since then. Oates actually looked like Dillinger. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
BillS.Jul 6, 2009
Flat and emotionally uninvolving. The film lacks a point of view and interesting narrative line. Christian Bayle is a disaster; his characterization is empty and pointless. The Lawrence Tierney version [1945] still rules. LT in a boater and Flat and emotionally uninvolving. The film lacks a point of view and interesting narrative line. Christian Bayle is a disaster; his characterization is empty and pointless. The Lawrence Tierney version [1945] still rules. LT in a boater and shades can't be beat. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
ChristopherP.Jul 6, 2009
Without any real focus on some aspect of the film and just a hodgepodge of rather uninteresting action scenes interspersed with bland dialogue and equally uninteresting and bland characters, it just doesn't feel like anywhere near what Without any real focus on some aspect of the film and just a hodgepodge of rather uninteresting action scenes interspersed with bland dialogue and equally uninteresting and bland characters, it just doesn't feel like anywhere near what it should have been. Because the characters are boring, there's no good reason to root for anyone in particular. Neither Depp nor Bale manage to salvage the writing and put any flavor into their characters, and the thrill of the cat-and-mouse chase isn't there, which is surprising for a Michael Mann film. Disappointing. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
SusanS.Jul 13, 2009
I left the theater not quite sure whether or not I liked this film--there were some brilliant moments, but at times it felt quite scattered and clumsy. Like one critic said above, there seemed to be no reason to make this film--I kept I left the theater not quite sure whether or not I liked this film--there were some brilliant moments, but at times it felt quite scattered and clumsy. Like one critic said above, there seemed to be no reason to make this film--I kept catching glimpses of that, but it's like Michael Mann tried so hard to make everything so subtle that the whole film ends up getting lost. It really just made me want to watch The Assassination of Jesse James again, as that is a brilliant artsy gangster film, and this was just kind of rambling and lost in its own seeming profoundness. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
MarylynnC.Jul 17, 2009
2 1/2 hours of boredom, blurry film, empty dialogue, shaky handicams, undeveloped characters, incoherent plot development, and disgraceful audio quality. Home movies have been made with better quality. Other than that, it gets five because 2 1/2 hours of boredom, blurry film, empty dialogue, shaky handicams, undeveloped characters, incoherent plot development, and disgraceful audio quality. Home movies have been made with better quality. Other than that, it gets five because it did have SOME good shots and some interesting scenes. Not to mention the actors Depp and Bale who kept the thing afloat. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
TonyO.Aug 13, 2009
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 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
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
Tss5078Nov 12, 2013
The producers of this film would like you to think it is a modern version of the Untouchables, but anyone who has seen this film will tell you it's far from it. It's not that Public Enemies was a bad movies, but a lot of people panned itThe producers of this film would like you to think it is a modern version of the Untouchables, but anyone who has seen this film will tell you it's far from it. It's not that Public Enemies was a bad movies, but a lot of people panned it because they expected a lot more from a 100 million dollar movie, starting Johnny Depp and Christian Bale, and they have a point. The story was flawed right from the beginning because the true story behind it really wasn't that interesting. The filmmakers tried to get people to watch it, by saying that Dillinger and Purvis were comparable to Capone and Ness, but that's not true. In reality, they had almost no interaction with each other and in the movie, whenever they were together, all they did was shoot at each other. There wasn't any chemistry between them, because their supposed rivalry was a fictions element added to an otherwise true story. The film should have focused on infamous bank robber, John Dillinger, but instead it focuses on the FBI hunt for him and his life on the run, long after the bulk of his crimes had been committed. Johnny Depp portrays Dillinger in an attempt to go back to being a legitimate actor instead of a Disney puppet, and he fails miserably. This guy can be one hell of actor, when the role fits his personality, but John Dillinger does not. Depp is an emotionless mess of mumbled lines that almost completely destroy the film. Thankfully, Christian Bale was much better and far more interesting. Public Enemies had big expectations, an all-star cast, and a huge budget, but it turned out to be an average film. That's what had people so upset, because had this been an independent film, they would have been okay with it. The fact that Public Enemies was billed as the next Untouchables, but fails to deliver even a single memorable scene just destroys any credibility the film had going for it. Expand
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6
oxanaAug 25, 2014
I was looking forward to this because I'm a fan of both Depp and Bale (and yes; I recognized David Wenham, too!). All in all I liked the movie, but I also felt mildly disappointed. I had heard from people that "Public Enemies" is good, andI was looking forward to this because I'm a fan of both Depp and Bale (and yes; I recognized David Wenham, too!). All in all I liked the movie, but I also felt mildly disappointed. I had heard from people that "Public Enemies" is good, and maybe I expected too much.

The acting seemed a little stiff. Johnny Depp's Dillinger was charming, determined, and slightly obsessed with certain ideas (protecting and taking care of his own was one of them). For some reason he just didn't manage to be as smooth and charming as I expected him to be. Christian Bale's Purvis was actually even worse; Bale isn't the smoothest of guys most of the time, but here it was as if someone had stuck a metal rod up along his spine. He had his moments, but they were too few. All in all the characters were introduced very poorly and aside from the main faces, it was hard to keep up.

There were some extremely funny moments, most of them with Dillinger. The plot in and on itself was on the border of spinning out of control, though; it wasn't very smooth, there was no clear pace in it, and when you thought you would be allowed to breathe for a moment, that didn't last for very long.

When you thought the movie was going to end, it just kept pushing forward. The end was bittersweet and simple, which I liked. Life tends to be that way, after all.

The soundtrack shone with its absence in most scenes. The gunfire, on the other hand, was almost disturbing; it was loud, and I'm sure it sounded pretty real, but for some reason it just felt like 'too much'. The shaky style of camera work also added to the chaos of not knowing who was who and what was really going on. Faces and names kept flying along with the bullets, agendas were thrown into the mix and then not mentioned again for another hour, and in the end they had a very realistic yet somewhat confusing film.

So, looking at it like that, perhaps the story of the movie was very good, and all the other elements ate at it from the very beginning.
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5
Patrick94Dec 8, 2015
Now, I'm a sucker for anything set in the 30-50's. I just think that time period makes for great film. But this let me down a bit. There was nothing really memorable in the film that I can go back to and say "I remember that one scene inNow, I'm a sucker for anything set in the 30-50's. I just think that time period makes for great film. But this let me down a bit. There was nothing really memorable in the film that I can go back to and say "I remember that one scene in Public Enemies where.....". The film sort of goes from one action scene to the next with little time in-between to make you invest in, and really care about any of the characters. At the end I didn't really care who lived and who died. The final few minutes of the movie didn't have the emotional weight they should have. Nothing in the film really did. On the bright side the action and shoot-outs were pretty good though. If you're going to watch this expecting a cool action movie set during the great depression, then you'll probably like it. Just don't expect much else. Expand
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5
RayzorMooseNov 16, 2013
Public Enemies is really just a biography.
Some were disappointed with the execution of this gangster movie, but it wasn't just a "gangster movie" it was the factual biography of John Dillinger. The movie succeeds with accomplishing that
Public Enemies is really just a biography.
Some were disappointed with the execution of this gangster movie, but it wasn't just a "gangster movie" it was the factual biography of John Dillinger. The movie succeeds with accomplishing that aspect, but fails to be very interesting or exciting. The characters aren't very likeable although the performances are great. Just an okay movie that is a factual representation of a notorious gangster.
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