Public Enemies

Public Enemies

Blown away - Mick Jordan

10 Points

Viewer Rating:Mick Jordan has rated Public Enemies rating: 4 Star

John Dillenger was a big film-buff who liked to perform dramatic leaps over bank counters in the manner of his hero Douglas Fairbanks. So it would probably please him no end that practically every twenty years or so Hollywood turns out another film biography of this notorious bank-robber. This is at least the fifth telling of the Dillinger story and each film progressively rehabilitates the character. Here he comes across as witty and charismatic (how could he otherwise when played by Johnny Depp) far from the murdering psychopath that apparently was portrayed in the very early versions – when those who finally caught him were still alive. While there is not a great deal of plot in 'Public Enemies' there is a great deal going on. John(Johnny) breaks in and out of prison, robs some banks, falls in love and goes on the run. He is portrayed as a good old-fashioned kind of criminal whose time is running out and whose methods are becoming out-dated in the rapidly developing mafia era. Crime is becoming big business and the small-time sole traders are being squeezed out - and turned in. All this is told at pretty much break-neck speed, despite the two and a half hours running time. Director Michael Mann has long been a proponent of style over substance and while there is plenty of substance to this film it's the style that takes you over. Every shot, every second is painstakingly constructed, every element perfected right down to the selection of clips from “Manhattan Melodrama” the Clark Gable film that Dillinger went out to see one fateful night. In fact Mann seems to be working from the premise that everyone knows how the story ends (they certainly do if they've seen the damn trailer!) and so he really takes his time over the climactic scenes, laying it all on like tragic opera. It's superbly done and one to watch on repeat when the DVD comes out.

Review published on the 15 July 2009 14:33

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disappointing - Eve

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Stunning true story beautifully told. - simonconnolly

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Star Rating: has rated Public Enemies rating: 4 Star

 

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