Who Would Love This Movie: People who like Johnny Depp in Blow, folks who like movies done in older film styles
Best Mood to Walk In With: Ready to hear a story
Don't See This Movie If: You want an action movie in the style of a summer blockbuster (e.g. Transformers, Star Trek)
The story of John Dillinger is interesting because it is based on a true story. That means, the biopic is free from the blockbuster extremes that has made Transformers and Star Trek box office hits this summer. There are no fancy effects or exaggerated fight scenes in Public Enemies. Although there are shootouts between the cops and robbers, this movie is much more of a drama than an action film.
That being said, what I found notable about Public Enemies is not the sequences of action but the style of film making. If you saw The Changeling with Angelina Jolie, this film was very similar in mimicking the older style of movies. Specifically the cinematography, the voices of the characters, and the costumes set the mood for this 1930s Great Depression period piece. Michael Mann's latest film is similar to the style he used with The Aviator and far from what we saw in his Hancock, Miami Vice, and Collateral.
Although the storyline starts to get slow and a bit condescending (the movie within the movie scene is pretty patronizing) towards the end, overall the movie is interesting to follow. However, it is obvious that without Johnny Depp, this movie would only be average. As usual Depp rounds out his role of Dillinger in a way that surpasses what most of his peers could do with the character. His acting adds an extra punch to an all-right script and he's probably also the reason that the film was able to cast so many other big names in smaller roles. His costar Christian Bale has even admitted that he signed onto this movie specifically to work with Depp and Mann. Bale gives his normal solid, nothing spectacular, I'll-be-a-foil-for-all-the-more-talented-actors-around-me performance. If he wasn't already famous, you would probably forget who was in his role when you left the theater. Marion Cotillard is artfully charming as she always is in her American films, and don't blink because you might miss appearances by Stephen Dorff, Channing Tatum, Giovanni Ribisi, Leelee Sobieski, and many others.
Keep Your Eyes Closed For: There was a scene where a policeman was physically violent to a woman that made me feel sick to my stomach
Keep Your Eyes Open For: The scene where John "woos" Billie
All in all, Public Enemies is the best, non-cry-your-eyes-out drama that is out currently. But if you're ok with tears, I still suggest My Sister's Keeper.
Movies Are Life. ~ K
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