Review: Public Enemies

Public Enemies was highly recommended to me by a friend of mine, and I thought it would be refreshing to see Johnny Depp in a role that wasn’t plain weird or hilarious. So I went and watched Public Enemies and was pleasantly surprised. I didn’t know what to really expect from this movie, but I sure know it worked for me.

Johnny plays John Dillinger, a high-profile bank robber who is loved by the public, but who is public enemy number 1 for the cops and the feds. I was pleased by the appearance of David Wenham (a.k.a. Faramir) as one of Dillinger’s associates, although he’s out of the picture real soon. The movie focusses on Dillinger and his lady friend Billie as well as the fed Melvin Purvis who is after Dillinger.

I liked the fact that Pruvis (Christian Bale) started out as a straight as an arrow cop and slowly turns more dark as he fails to apprehend Dillinger. His ambition gets the best of him and he starts to go bad. Dillinger himself seems like a nice chap – if you turn a blind eye to the bank robbing, though he’s portrayed like a Robin Hood of some kind. I found myself rooting for the ‘bad guy’ Dillinger, because well…he really wasn’t that bad of a guy.

I won’t spoil the ending for you, but it was quite unexpected for someone who didn’t know the story of John Dillinger. It was a nice movie and I liked seeing Depp in a more serious role. He pulls it off and he should do those kinds of roles more often. It’s a good period piece as well.

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2 thoughts on “Review: Public Enemies

  1. This makes the casting of Johnny Depp frustrating, because he doesn’t get to do much with his character. As it turns out, he is not that dangerous — the FBI agents flailing about in the woods at Little Bohemia seem far more likely to kill innocent civilians than Dillinger does. After all, he is loyal to a fault, risking his life for friends like those he springs from the State Pen; a sensitive sort, he broods on several occasions when he watches friends die. He promises that he will always “take care of” Billie, the girl he picks up in Chicago, and that he plans to be with her for life, to “die an old man, in your arms.” Not only does the movie expect us to believe that Billie believes him; it expects us to believe him too.

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