Public Enemies

User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 429 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 51 out of 429

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User Reviews

  1. Rita
    Jan 16, 2010
    3
    All style, no substance. Paper thin characters. A long music video passing itself off as a movie.
  2. 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 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
    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.
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  3. JohnB.
    Jul 8, 2009
    6
    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 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
  4. Nov 24, 2011
    7
    The story wasn't the best, the action was great. Costume and accents where something new as I'm not a fan of the western style movies, but this was not that - it was a gangster style movie. Christian Bale did a great job for his character...
  5. Aug 18, 2014
    7
    I am not sure why this one is not more critically acclaimed honestly. Johnny Depp is fantastic here, as are Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, and Jason Clarke. The direction from Michael Mann is great as usual and he does a great job creating great thrills and excitement here. At times, things can get drowned out in a hail of bullets, but for the most part, things are very tense andI am not sure why this one is not more critically acclaimed honestly. Johnny Depp is fantastic here, as are Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, and Jason Clarke. The direction from Michael Mann is great as usual and he does a great job creating great thrills and excitement here. At times, things can get drowned out in a hail of bullets, but for the most part, things are very tense and exciting. The cinematography is good, the costume design is very good, and the production design is very good. The script is also solid and gets the job done. Now, this is not the best gangster film I have seen, but it is a darn good one and a very entertaining and well done look at the last days of John Dillinger that is bolstered by great direction and acting. Overall, this one is not a great film, but is certainly a good one that did not deserve the mixed reception it received. Expand
  6. May 13, 2013
    10
    I rob banks," John Dillinger would sometimes say by way of introduction. It was the simple truth. That was what he did. For the 13 months between the day he escaped from prison and the night he lay dying in an alley, he robbed banks. It was his lifetime. Michael Mann's "Public Enemies" accepts that stark fact and refuses any temptation to soften it. Dillinger was not a nice man.
    Here is a
    I rob banks," John Dillinger would sometimes say by way of introduction. It was the simple truth. That was what he did. For the 13 months between the day he escaped from prison and the night he lay dying in an alley, he robbed banks. It was his lifetime. Michael Mann's "Public Enemies" accepts that stark fact and refuses any temptation to soften it. Dillinger was not a nice man.
    Here is a film that shrugs off the way we depend on myth to sentimentalize our outlaws. There is no interest here about John Dillinger's childhood, his psychology, his sexuality, his famous charm, his Robin Hood legend. He liked sex, but not as much as robbing banks. "He robbed the bankers but let the customers keep their own money." But whose money was in the banks? He kids around with reporters and lawmen, but that was business. He doesn't kid around with the members of his gang. He might have made a very good military leader.
    Johnny Depp and Michael Mann show us that we didn't know all about Dillinger. We only thought we did. Here is an efficient, disciplined, bold, violent man, driven by compulsions the film wisely declines to explain. His gang members loved the money they were making. Dillinger loved planning the next job. He had no exit strategy or retirement plans.
    Dillinger saw a woman he liked, Billie Frechette, played by Marion Cotillard, and courted her, after his fashion. That is, he took her out at night and bought her a fur coat, as he had seen done in the movies; he had no real adult experience before prison. They had sex, but the movie is not much interested. It is all about his vow to show up for her, to protect her. Against what? Against the danger of being his girl. He allows himself a tiny smile when he gives her the coat, and it is the only vulnerability he shows in the movie.
    This is very disciplined film. You might not think it was possible to make a film about the most famous outlaw of the 1930s without clichés and "star chemistry" and a film class screenplay structure, but Mann does it. He is particular about the way he presents Dillinger and Billie. He sees him and her. Not them. They are never a couple. They are their needs. She needs to be protected, because she is so vulnerable. He needs someone to protect, in order to affirm his invincibility.
    Dillinger hates the system, by which he means prisons, that hold people; banks, that hold money, and cops, who stand in his way. He probably hates the government too, but he doesn't think that big. It is him against them, and the bastards will not, can not, win. There's an extraordinary sequence, apparently based on fact, where Dillinger walks into the "Dillinger Bureau" of the Chicago Police Department and strolls around. Invincible. This is not ego. It is a spell he casts on himself.
    The movie is well-researched, based on the book by Bryan Burrough. It even bothers to try to discover Dillinger's speaking style. Depp looks a lot like him. Mann shot on location in the Crown Point jail, scene of the famous jailbreak with the fake gun. He shot in the Little Bohemia Lodge in the same room Dillinger used, and Depp is costumed in clothes to match those the bank robber left behind. Mann redressed Lincoln Avenue on either side of the Biograph Theater, and laid streetcar tracks; I live a few blocks away, and walked over to marvel at the detail. I saw more than you will; unlike some directors, he doesn't indulge in beauty shots to show off the art direction. It's just there.
    This Johnny Depp performance is something else. For once an actor playing a gangster does not seem to base his performance on movies he has seen. He starts cold. He plays Dillinger as a Fact. My friend Jay Robert Nash says 1930s gangsters copied their styles from the way Hollywood depicted them; screenwriters like Ben Hecht taught them how they spoke. Dillinger was a big movie fan; on the last night of his life, he went to see Clark Gable playing a man a lot like him, but he didn't learn much. No wisecracks, no lingo. Just military precision and an edge of steel.
    Christian Bale plays Melvin Purvis in a similar key. He lives to fight criminals. He is a cold realist. He admires his boss, J. Edgar Hoover, but Hoover is a romantic, dreaming of an FBI of clean-cut young accountants in suits and ties who would be a credit to their mothers. After the catastrophe at Little Bohemia (the FBI let Dillinger escape but killed three civilians), Purvis said to hell with it and made J. Edgar import some lawmen from Arizona who had actually been in gunfights.
    Mann is fearless with his research. If I mention the Lady in Red, Anna Sage (Branka Katic), who betrayed Dillinger outside the Biograph when the movie was over, how do you picture her? I do too. We are wrong. In real life she was wearing a white blouse and an orange skirt, and she does in the movie. John Ford once said, When the legend becomes fact, print the legend. This may be a case where he was right.
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  7. Sep 26, 2014
    10
    It's like if Leonardo Dicaprio spawned a lovely mix of Big Rigs Over the Road Racing and stuffed it into a pink guys anus. It made me so happy I went to see it, it made me play PayDay 2
  8. Jan 31, 2011
    5
    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.
  9. AndrewN
    Jul 10, 2009
    3
    This movie was pretty horrible. Drawn-out, dull, poor transitioning between scenes, and truly terrible camera work. I was not emotionally invested in any of the characters, and Christian Bale in particular was very miscast. This may have all been redeemed had the movie actually been entertaining, but at no point did I think it was. I'd strongly recommend avoiding it, despite positive This movie was pretty horrible. Drawn-out, dull, poor transitioning between scenes, and truly terrible camera work. I was not emotionally invested in any of the characters, and Christian Bale in particular was very miscast. This may have all been redeemed had the movie actually been entertaining, but at no point did I think it was. I'd strongly recommend avoiding it, despite positive reviews from the professional media. Expand
  10. j30
    Oct 10, 2011
    8
    Just a solid picture. Great cast. Cinematography was great. Micheal Mann has a very distinctive style and it really shows in the film.
  11. Dec 11, 2012
    1
    One of the worst cinematography I've ever seen. They cranked up the sharpen and contrast filters to 11. It is downright un-watchable on a smaller screen with the constantly moving camera and the messed up contrast. I had really hard time distinguishing between a the characters at the beginning, because you only see them for 1 or 2 seconds in dimly lit environments and the camera moves likeOne of the worst cinematography I've ever seen. They cranked up the sharpen and contrast filters to 11. It is downright un-watchable on a smaller screen with the constantly moving camera and the messed up contrast. I had really hard time distinguishing between a the characters at the beginning, because you only see them for 1 or 2 seconds in dimly lit environments and the camera moves like a madman. Expand
  12. 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 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 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
  13. ChrisP.
    Jul 16, 2009
    10
    It's a great movie!Johny Depp was really good and the plot really interesting.Good scenes with lot of actions.i believe it would be one of the best movie of 2009!
  14. 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 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 inThis 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
  15. WinstonL
    Sep 29, 2009
    10
    Johnny Depp is on my Oscar-watch.
  16. CapoRegime
    Oct 28, 2009
    10
    Expect some Oscar awards coming from this film.
  17. ZacD.
    Jul 16, 2009
    5
    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.
  18. 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 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
  19. Aug 31, 2012
    0
    This movie isn't worthy of any score. Horrible directing. It went from weirdly quiet to loud obnoxious gun shooting. I hate it. I could have watched a decent syfy movie for 2 hours. Instead I suffered through this disaster.
  20. EvanW.
    Jul 2, 2009
    7
    The best way to describe it is that it's interesting. Johnny Depp has an air of mystery about him. You feel like you never really got to know him.
  21. ChadS.
    Jul 3, 2009
    6
    [***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 [***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
  22. PeterO.
    Jul 18, 2009
    8
    I really enjoyed this movie. It
  23. RodrigoL.
    Jul 2, 2009
    10
    A unique masterpiece. Depp impersonates dillinger in a unique way and gives an academy award worthy performance.
  24. CydneyS.
    Jul 2, 2009
    4
    Ridiculously violent.. dialogue too muddled to hear. What a waste of 140 minutes.
  25. JonathanG
    Jul 23, 2009
    6
    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
  26. ChrisS.
    Jul 30, 2009
    6
    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, 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...
  27. JerryB.
    Jul 3, 2009
    10
    The best summer film so far. One of those films were you can't help but root for the bad guy.
  28. JulieR.
    Jul 30, 2009
    2
    Rubbish, should've walked out.
  29. JeffD.
    Jul 4, 2009
    4
    On the way to nowhere in a boring slow car. Unfocussed. Great scenery, but poor writing, directing and just average acting. A big snooze!
  30. DanielJ.
    Jul 5, 2009
    7
    Wow. Really mixed feelings on this film. I'm a huge fan of Michael Mann and his movies are kind of events for me but that can also be frustrating because his work is all over the place. He's been in a period of extremely strong visual stylization that is almost its own art form - Miami Vice and Collateral would almost work better with the sound off. I prefer when he is just Wow. Really mixed feelings on this film. I'm a huge fan of Michael Mann and his movies are kind of events for me but that can also be frustrating because his work is all over the place. He's been in a period of extremely strong visual stylization that is almost its own art form - Miami Vice and Collateral would almost work better with the sound off. I prefer when he is just being a really good storyteller, though, i.e. Heat, Ali and The Insider. The biggest problem with Public Enemies for me was that it is shot in a really ugly digital format. I know that Mann probably thought it would lend immediacy and reality to the story - which it does in some ways - but it's also distracting. The association in our minds of hi-def to reality is a modern, technological connection that we get from watching documentaries shot on a budget. That effect can be simulated in a modern setting more smoothly for this reason, for instance in 28 Days Later. Here, used on a 1930s historical drama, it stands out like a sore thumb. I was never really able to get lost in the film. There are other problems, particularly the muffled audio that makes Mann's already pithy scrip even harder to follow and the script itself, which is somewhat vanilla. Depp is sweet. Bale is Bale - one note, complete intensity at all times. The smaller parts are played by great actors who sometimes come to life more than the leads. But there is a blunt energy to the movie that is affecting and kind of addicting. I've been thinking about the movie all day since seeing it last night. I think it has soul. I would like to see it again. I really hope that Mann goes back to film, or to another format that is equally beautiful. But I'm also glad he's working as much as he has in the past 10 years. Expand
  31. ChrisS.
    Jul 5, 2009
    9
    Another classic to add to your collection of gangster flicks. I'm not sure about the actual story of Dillinger--some parts i know were inaccurate--but the film is front-to-back remarkable.
  32. DWilly
    Jul 6, 2009
    4
    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 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
  33. GeraldF
    Jul 8, 2009
    6
    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.
  34. EvinC
    Aug 12, 2009
    6
    Boring but the acting is well done. Rent it. see if it's your taste.
  35. JimS
    Sep 6, 2009
    4
    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.
  36. TimothyT
    Oct 15, 2009
    5
    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.
  37. NeilS.
    Jul 1, 2009
    9
    it was a good movie on the boarder line with great but not quite
  38. GailB.
    Jul 1, 2009
    5
    S L O W, tedious, boring, no character depth, very little story, could have been a 20 minute selected short.
  39. Mr.C
    Jul 1, 2009
    10
    This is a perfect gangster-movie !! Mann is a great director and Depp will win a Oscar for his performance !! Exelent !!!
  40. SamL.
    Jul 1, 2009
    9
    Intriguing, well acted, and great visuals
  41. JohnW.
    Jul 12, 2009
    2
    I was really looking forward to this movie, but the incredibly distracting camera-work, and the fact that it was shot at 30fps in digital makes it almost unwatchable and feels like it was shot on a home camera. I didn't feel any connection to the characters, and there was absolutely no feeling of suspense, excitement, or sadness during any part of the movie. It really felt like I was really looking forward to this movie, but the incredibly distracting camera-work, and the fact that it was shot at 30fps in digital makes it almost unwatchable and feels like it was shot on a home camera. I didn't feel any connection to the characters, and there was absolutely no feeling of suspense, excitement, or sadness during any part of the movie. It really felt like everyone involved - from writers, to director, to actors - just phoned it in. And don't even get me started on the horrendous sound and film editing. Even the music felt amateurish. All in all, a movie that should have been great ends up being painfully unwatchable due to some ridiculous production choices (which will probably be defended as "artistic choices"). Expand
  42. 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 with no real center, and few surprises.
  43. Camille
    Jul 1, 2009
    4
    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 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
  44. [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 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!
  45. JonathanT.
    Jul 1, 2009
    1
    Lets just kiss Michael Mann's ass, even though the man has indeed made one decent film in years because its Michael Mann so it obviously must be great. Formula, then get 2 big name stars, the flamboyant but good actor Christian Bale and the increasingly eccentric oddball Johnny Depp. The film is average at best and the cheap grainy look of the film looks like it was filmed in Lets just kiss Michael Mann's ass, even though the man has indeed made one decent film in years because its Michael Mann so it obviously must be great. Formula, then get 2 big name stars, the flamboyant but good actor Christian Bale and the increasingly eccentric oddball Johnny Depp. The film is average at best and the cheap grainy look of the film looks like it was filmed in somebody backyard like a cheap home video. There is nothing revolutionary or groundbreaking in this film and it is overlong, pretentious and feels like it has something to say that we have already seen in countless gangster films that have preceded it. Overall it is an exercise of style over substance, glossy production values taking center stage over coherent storytelling and background of character motivations. Expand
  46. AlfredB.
    Jul 1, 2009
    2
    Dull and way too long. Wait for it on video.
  47. MD.
    Jul 2, 2009
    10
    Visually stunning, with a fantastic performance by Depp.
  48. DianaG.
    Jul 2, 2009
    9
    Johnny Depp gives a stellar performance, despite a less than stellar script. The movie is great - it's not just as perfect as it could have been. Still a must see movie this summer.
  49. RyanG
    Jul 21, 2009
    10
    Outstanding acting and set.
  50. FrankV
    Jul 23, 2009
    7
    Very entertaining and an appropriate film given the current financial crisis, and our rather low impression of banks. Dillinger was folk hero in his time and I can relate to it :-). Stick it to those evil, greedy banks. It's hard to believe that this is the same guy as in the Pirates of the Caribbean. The film does an excellent job depicting the times with sets and costumes. What I Very entertaining and an appropriate film given the current financial crisis, and our rather low impression of banks. Dillinger was folk hero in his time and I can relate to it :-). Stick it to those evil, greedy banks. It's hard to believe that this is the same guy as in the Pirates of the Caribbean. The film does an excellent job depicting the times with sets and costumes. What I didn't like was the Depp doesn't come across as a sympathetic character, nor does Christian bale for that matter. You almost immediately forget about what you saw once you leave the theater. Expand
  51. JasonB.
    Jul 20, 2009
    2
    One character, very drunk, makes just about the worst James Cagney impression I
  52. MaxB.
    Jul 2, 2009
    9
    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).
  53. EricR.
    Jul 3, 2009
    1
    Screenplay, character development, plot development. Atrocious, insulting and laughable.
  54. Ceejay
    Jul 3, 2009
    4
    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.
  55. KY.
    Jul 4, 2009
    7
    I think it could have been better, but for what it was, it was pretty good. Sad that the public can't recognize a decent film when they see it...
  56. RickR.
    Jul 4, 2009
    9
    Mann had the daring to invent a visual vocabulary for the gangster film, and it pays off with the best film of the genre since Bonnie & Clyde. The camera takes in actors and action alike with unhurried deliberation, more or less in real time, and it brings the human scale of both into sharp relief. As slickly stylish as the film is visually, it doesn't get in the way of a great Mann had the daring to invent a visual vocabulary for the gangster film, and it pays off with the best film of the genre since Bonnie & Clyde. The camera takes in actors and action alike with unhurried deliberation, more or less in real time, and it brings the human scale of both into sharp relief. As slickly stylish as the film is visually, it doesn't get in the way of a great gangster film that is also a great love story. Expand
  57. JohnL.
    Jul 5, 2009
    7
    This movie is ok, its very similar to a movie called the newton boys which i actually liked better..the movie is well made and the cast solid but it is kind of long and very predictable. i would recommend it because even though it was long i wasn't bored at any point.
  58. FrankO.
    Jul 6, 2009
    8
    My wife and I both enjoyed this movie although she liked it better than I did. My only objection was its length, how many bank robbers and shootouts do I need to make a point? Minor criticism, overall, I believe Michael Mann did an excellent job of capturing the time period(i.e. depression) and our hero worship of criminals.
  59. AaronM.
    Jul 6, 2009
    6
    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 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. Collapse
  60. SteveG
    Jul 7, 2009
    6
    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.
  61. SteE
    Aug 1, 2009
    9
    An absolutely brilliant film. The style, the direction, the camera, the acting talent. It was all there. Johnny Depp was once again brilliant in his portrayal of Johnny Dillinger, whilst Christian Bale, usually disappointing, provided a sturdy opponent. Michael Mann directs the film with a brilliance which one rarely sees, and in my opinion anyone who gave this film below a seven simply An absolutely brilliant film. The style, the direction, the camera, the acting talent. It was all there. Johnny Depp was once again brilliant in his portrayal of Johnny Dillinger, whilst Christian Bale, usually disappointing, provided a sturdy opponent. Michael Mann directs the film with a brilliance which one rarely sees, and in my opinion anyone who gave this film below a seven simply cannot have understood the proceedings or failed to appreciate the artistic beauty of the film. It could be said that this is one of the greatest films in the genre. Expand
  62. aleksa
    Aug 10, 2009
    0
    I'm impressed only by how boring this film managed to make the subject matter, and how fake it managed to look (which I guess is because of it being shot in high def digital). It's a shame, because there is a great cast, but they're not given much to work with.
  63. ricos.
    Aug 3, 2009
    2
    Wow. How boring was that? To sum it up: The police chase Dillinger, he gets away, robs a bank, gets caught, escpaes, the police chase him, he robs something else, repeat.. Oh, and there's a girl involved, but it doesn't help. For over two and a half hours, this movie fails to engage you in any way. In Mann's masterpiece Heat, he made you root for both villains and cops. Wow. How boring was that? To sum it up: The police chase Dillinger, he gets away, robs a bank, gets caught, escpaes, the police chase him, he robs something else, repeat.. Oh, and there's a girl involved, but it doesn't help. For over two and a half hours, this movie fails to engage you in any way. In Mann's masterpiece Heat, he made you root for both villains and cops. Watching Public Enemies, you end up not caring about either. The reason I don't give this the lowest possible rating, is of course the shooting scenes, which are great, but Mann can do that blindfolded by now. Too bad he kept the blindfolds on for the rest of the movie, though. Expand
  64. ArashR.
    Aug 3, 2009
    8
    It was a nice movie and it had some of the most awesome action scenes... but there were also parts that were boring.. the movie as a whole really drew me in and made me want to see more but the ending wasn't what I would have like it to be and I know it was based on a true story of something like that so they had to keep it to a strict course but maybe thats what limited what this It was a nice movie and it had some of the most awesome action scenes... but there were also parts that were boring.. the movie as a whole really drew me in and made me want to see more but the ending wasn't what I would have like it to be and I know it was based on a true story of something like that so they had to keep it to a strict course but maybe thats what limited what this movie could have been Expand
  65. Marc.D.
    Aug 6, 2009
    7
    Overly long and generally underwhelming. Depp is the only bright spot in a film which has surprisingly little to keep you engaged considering the nature of the subject matter.
  66. Tonyc
    Aug 9, 2009
    2
    All my hopes dashed by odd camerawork (though moments were really cool) and a wretchedly horrid soundscape. whoever did the soundFX and mixing really screwed the pooch, the producer that paid them is worse, and needs to be told about the filtering that can be used to make the picture look good and not like a digital short.
  67. EliasL
    Sep 8, 2009
    8
    Unexpectedly good film...a little bit uneven though because the ending was not as good as the other parts of the film.
  68. SnehitV
    Oct 13, 2009
    7
    Watch it for Depp's acting and the movie's realistic feel
  69. viktorg
    Nov 30, 2009
    6
    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.
  70. VillageGreen
    Dec 10, 2009
    3
    Are you kidding me? The Characters are as flat and uninteresting as the way the film looked. An absolute overrated waste of time. Seriously, I am not kidding, if you go into this film with only an once of criticism you will come out let down.
  71. RitchieY
    Dec 2, 2009
    0
    Less interesting than Transformers would be if you took the robots out.
  72. TArkoB.
    Jul 11, 2009
    2
    Shot like a television show, with no scale or scope at all, a bloated two and a half hour masturbatory rehash of gangster cliches. With no discernable dramatic through-line, except a by-the-numbers "and then, and then" retelling in excruciating, boring detail, this is more evidence of Michael Mann's arrogance and mediocrity. The only truly amazing thing is that Mann was able to make Shot like a television show, with no scale or scope at all, a bloated two and a half hour masturbatory rehash of gangster cliches. With no discernable dramatic through-line, except a by-the-numbers "and then, and then" retelling in excruciating, boring detail, this is more evidence of Michael Mann's arrogance and mediocrity. The only truly amazing thing is that Mann was able to make robbing banks boring. The best thing about this movie was the font. Expand
  73. RobertW.
    Jul 1, 2009
    1
    completely missed the mark from the supposed master filmmaker. Choppy. Some might call Depp enigmatic but it's the nice way of saying that Michael Mann never knew who this character was or why he should make this film.
  74. MaryM.
    Jul 1, 2009
    9
    I didn't know what to expect despite waiting a year for this film. Very surprised and pleaed with the results. Simply put, Depp IS Dillinger.
  75. KrisB.
    Jul 10, 2009
    10
    Epic Movie, great to watch, you won't be disappointed.
  76. Annie
    Jul 1, 2009
    10
    Excellent film. Johnny Depp is pitch perfect as Dillinger with a wicked gleam in his eye. Christian Bale is toned down and tightened up, as the G-Man with a conscious. The romance between Dillinger and Billie is both sweet and passionate. You may not agree with her decisions, but you certainly understand why she fell so head over heels for the gangster, and why he loved her from the Excellent film. Johnny Depp is pitch perfect as Dillinger with a wicked gleam in his eye. Christian Bale is toned down and tightened up, as the G-Man with a conscious. The romance between Dillinger and Billie is both sweet and passionate. You may not agree with her decisions, but you certainly understand why she fell so head over heels for the gangster, and why he loved her from the moment he spotted her. Expand
  77. OscarF.
    Jul 1, 2009
    10
    Reduce this movie to the simpliest of terms, best movie of the year so far!
  78. NeilK.
    Jul 1, 2009
    3
    I was sorely disappointed in this film. I didn't come in expecting the next Untouchables or Godfather, but I did come in expecting a nice piece of entertainment. Instead I was presented with an exceedingly long mess of footage thrown together into a film. The story left me and my friends wondering "what is going on?" after only an hour, a question that never went away. As well, the I was sorely disappointed in this film. I didn't come in expecting the next Untouchables or Godfather, but I did come in expecting a nice piece of entertainment. Instead I was presented with an exceedingly long mess of footage thrown together into a film. The story left me and my friends wondering "what is going on?" after only an hour, a question that never went away. As well, the digital footage didn't feel right, as it blurred movements and made the film feel more amateur, with some shots looking like they came off of my consumer HD camcorder. Problems with dialogue levels and the overall sound (including a blunt score) only worked against any success this film could muster. All in all, not worth your money. Expand
  79. StuartC
    Jul 13, 2009
    5
    Very disappointing given those involved.
  80. Fantasy
    Jul 15, 2009
    6
    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.
  81. NerijusD.
    Jul 16, 2009
    3
    Film
  82. markj.
    Jul 17, 2009
    6
    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 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
  83. SteveP
    Jul 17, 2009
    9
    An excellent Mann film! Reminds me alot of Heat.
  84. BarbK.
    Jul 2, 2009
    9
    Depp is mesmerizing; the performances first rate all around. thought-provoking and incredibly realistic while touching and heartbreaking. I must see.
  85. BobN
    Jul 29, 2009
    9
    I thought this movie would suck. Miami Vice? Lame. Collateral? Ditto. The trailer to Public is not too motivating, and the reviews are rather blah. Nonetheless, I decided to see this anyways. Good film. I do not care about gangsters. Never liked the Godfather. I loved this film. The HD cameras made this fascinating. No, it does not look likea home movie nor a History Channel flashback. It I thought this movie would suck. Miami Vice? Lame. Collateral? Ditto. The trailer to Public is not too motivating, and the reviews are rather blah. Nonetheless, I decided to see this anyways. Good film. I do not care about gangsters. Never liked the Godfather. I loved this film. The HD cameras made this fascinating. No, it does not look likea home movie nor a History Channel flashback. It looks great. The story is simple, yet it is also complex. Is it historically accurate? Who cares. Remember the Titans (junk-fest) was far from accurate, but that didn't stop critics from liking it. This is simply a good film. What matters to me in a film is the hidden theme, or atmosphere, and if that film can hold it throughout. This film has great atmoshpere. I never once thought of gangster cliches or hollywood splurge. It was engrossing and full of frenzy. It had a momentum which is rare these days. This is one of the only films where the digital camera actually adds to it. Mann, great job. Expand
  86. JonB.
    Jul 3, 2009
    6
    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.
  87. BitBurn
    Jul 3, 2009
    8
    I thought it was very good entertainment. Depp, as usual, is awesome. However, the movie still lacks a bit in storytelling and the origins. Dillinger's history isn't explained.
  88. LandonB.
    Jul 4, 2009
    6
    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.
  89. WarrenO.
    Jul 5, 2009
    5
    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 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
  90. ROBERTM.
    Jul 5, 2009
    9
    Johnny Depp gives depth to Dillinger. His love interest was completely believable. We should see more of her.
  91. SarahH.
    Jul 5, 2009
    7
    Very well done; I agree with many who said that it was very good, but not great, that there was some element missing there. I can't place it, but it's still a must-see in my book.
  92. BillS.
    Jul 6, 2009
    5
    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.
  93. ReedD.
    Jul 6, 2009
    7
    While this movie was entertaining, it was... the same old movie. Not only has cops and robbers been done a million times but mob vs. cops has been done almost as much. This movie felt like it followed the same old pattern.
  94. ChristopherP.
    Jul 6, 2009
    5
    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 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
  95. MS
    Jul 7, 2009
    10
    Great movie - different, interesting, exciting.
  96. CaitlinR
    Aug 2, 2009
    9
    At last - after the stifling summer blockbusters and sequels comes something almost like an indie (compared to others released around that time). Great job, very tense, very exciting, and I have more respect for Depp actor-wise.
  97. AlanS
    Nov 9, 2009
    1
    Very disappointing. I had high expectation for this movie, but it just lacks the excitement that it was supposed to deliver.
  98. HarryT
    Nov 9, 2009
    0
    Too boring.
  99. rizzeh
    Dec 29, 2009
    2
    Sound and cinematography were horrible. Cast was wasted. Plot was uninteresting and characters underdeveloped. Never have I preferred cleaning a litter box to watching a Michael Mann or Johnny Depp movie... but here we are! Seriously Metacritic?? A score of 70 seems to be way off. I think it's time to review your system.
  100. TomM.
    Jul 11, 2009
    0
    Shocking. Boring throughout. Not enough actions scenes and never got going.
Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35
  1. The film lacks the juice promised by the teaming of such extraordinary filmmakers with a cast as large as a Hooverville encampment.
  2. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    50
    Oddly, too, the film is somewhat shortchanged by its great star, Johnny Depp, who disappointingly has chosen to play Dillinger as self-consciously cool rather than earthy and gregarious.
  3. Time
    Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    50
    It lacks overall focus, and at the end you may have a question for Michael Mann: Why'dyou bother? [July 6, 2009, p.59]