Public Enemies (2009) Review

Three notorious American Gangsters; John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd are involved in the booming crime wave in the 1930s, but the Feds are doing everything to take them down!


The first thing you think before seeing this movie is . . . Johnny Depp . . . Christian Bale . . . Marion Cotillard. It really should be fantastic. I said should be, as I did not find it fantastic it was ok but not the best recent film I have seen. Johnny Depp as always put in a great performance, he really can be any type of character. Christian Bale was not in it enough to make a bigger impact (in my opinion) he did not really seem to have many lines and more just been on the screen. Marion Cotillard I thought was great, she was so believable and just seemed to real.

With it being in the early 1930’s in Chicago while the great depression was 4 years in (yes, I read the words at the start and actually remembered that fact). I could not help my “Chicago” the musical geekyness to stay hidden as every mention of Cook County Jail and J. Edgar Hoover . . . yes I do know “Chicago” way too much. But those little things made me smile.

I do love that time period of the late 1920’s then early 1930’s I just love the whole style and way the people used to act (or the way we think people used to act). I found this movie very strange in parts, in the way that it seemed to have some plot holes as I thought I was paying full attention. But I guess for a few seconds I got confused as I thought two different characters were the same one (that does sound bad, but they had the same hair style).

I have been trying to think of different movies to compare this too. I think in more recent cinema “American Gangster” comes to mind. With the cop/criminal chase going on. But I guess it is a different time period. I cannot really explain what was missing from this movie. But I definatly thought something was missing.

5 thoughts on “Public Enemies (2009) Review

  1. Nice review! I thaught exactly the same about Johnny and most of all Marion! The girl is a very talented actress! And I felt exactly the same about ChiCgo since I know waaaaay too much this movie 😉

    Keep reviewing, I’m reading 😀


  2. Cook Country Jail made me think of the conversation about prison food between Jake and Matt Guitar Murphy in the Blues Brothers, I think that says more about us as viewers than about the film!

    I think the reason you can’t think of any recent films to compare it to is that there aren’t any! It is an old fashioned type of film. It combines the styles of the films of the era it is set with the 60/70’s post Hayes Code films like Bonnie and Clyde.

    On the whole I really enjoyed the film. The one thing I was a bit unsure of was the digital video format. It made the film have a bit of a clinical feel that lacked the warmth of celluloid. This made me as the viewer a little detached. I think this may be less noticeable on the smaller screen of TV so suspect the film will do well on DVD.


  3. This movie caught me a little off-guard too, as I found it had a little bit less sizzle than most of Mann’s other movies did.

    They portrayed Dillinger as cold and distant, rather than letting him out to play…which is fine, just a little less fun than I would have liked. I agree with you – it’s a good movie, though not really a fun movie.


  4. Mann draws a sprawling cast together with a myriad of period details that give an authentic sheen, without letting the audience get confused in the sea of historic information. Check out my review, when you can! Nice Review!


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