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

User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 326 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
    100
    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
    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: 71 out of 119
  2. Negative: 30 out of 119
  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 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.
    Expand
  2. OscarF.
    Jul 1, 2009
    10
    Reduce this movie to the simpliest of terms, best movie of the year so far!
  3. 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.
  4. EvinC
    Aug 12, 2009
    6
    Boring but the acting is well done. Rent it. see if it's your taste.
  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 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. 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 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
  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 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 119 User Reviews

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