Friday, July 31, 2009

Public Enemies

Movie name: Public Enemies
Year of release: 2009
Director: Michael Mann
Stars: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, Billy Crudup, Stephen Dorff, Jason Clarke, David Wenham, Rory Cochrane, Giovanni Ribisi, Stephen Lang, Lili Taylor, Leelee Sobieski, James Russo
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6

Synopsis:Michael Mann is one of the most interesting directors working these days. After the overlooked "Miami Vice" in 2006, Mann turned his attention to John Dillinger and to the crime wave of the 1930s (Mann has approached crime with great results in "Heat" and "Collateral"). John Dillinger had been the subject matter of John Millus' film from 1973, "Dillinger" with Warren Oates, Michelle Phillips and Cloris Leachman. The film introduces us to John Dillinger as he is breaking some associates of his from prison. Dillinger himself had been arrested for a considerable time, and goes on a bank robbing spree in Chicago. In one of his nights out, he meets Billie Frechette for whom he develops an immediate infatuation. His criminal undertakings end up bringing a lot of attention upon himself, forcing J. Edgar Hoover to declare him, public enemy number 1 and force the creation of a special task force to deal with him (and that type of crime). Leading that task force is Melvin Purvis, a resilient and resorceful agent. What follows is a game of cat and mouse, with Purvis trying to reach Dillinger as fast as possible.
"Public Enemies" has a lot going for it, from the artistry and perfectionism from the director, to the fantastic cast that has been assembled. Particularly Johnny Depp imbues the character with a mix of steel-eyed coldness and vulnerability that makes the character more three dimensional. The problems of this film are also very evident, starting from the screenplay, that introduces characters which are discarded as quickly as they appear. Some characters are also quite uni dimensional, from Melvin Purvis to Billie Frechette. You never know much about them, besides their cardboard definitions (police and girlfriend respectively). The film ends up living from the sense of urgency that creates and the impeccable production values. Worth checking out with some reservations.