Public Enemies

Director: Michael Mann
Year Released: 2009
Rating: 2.0

Noticeably impersonal revisit of Bad Ass America in the early 1930's where the likes of John Dillinger (Johnny Depp) and Pretty Boy Floyd and Baby Face Nelson and Frank Nitti were making money for themselves in various illegal ways and the clueless J. Edgar Hoover (Billy Crudup) and his "Bureau" were being made to look like fools. Mann once again abuses his aesthetically displeasing handheld digital cameras to make his feverish shootouts shaky messes, and this is a movie that really enjoys some good weaponry. It seems to want to get political by going after the deeper issues with our fine nation's ideas of Justice but then cowers away from going for the jugular - can't make 'us' look that bad, apparently - just like it wants to play safe with the Dillinger character, allowing Depp's smirk to tell the story: when Mann walks away from the research and has his anti-hero wander unnoticed into the Dillinger Squad, it's a transcendent moment, saying more about our 'lack' of security as a country and about Dillinger's ego than the rest of the movie combined. Christian Bale is given little to work with as "good" assassin Melvin Purvis.