Public Enemies

It was really weird, I walked out of the cinema feeling something I hadn’t felt for ages, there was no crushing disappointment or bitter hatred, there was just ‘yes I’ve just witnessed a great film’. After a slew of bad summer movies at last one that made me believe in cinema again. Michael Mann’s ‘Public Enemies’ is a classic. Think ‘Heat’ meets ‘The Untouchables’ it’s a brilliant gangster film about John Dillinger, played expertly by Johnny Depp, America’s public enemy number one. Straight away we launched into a prison break in 1933 and it’s the devil in the details that makes the viewer really believe it is 1933, the costumes, the cars, the settings, the guns, and it’s perfect. Depp plays Dillinger just right and even Christian Bale as his G-man nemesis is the best he’s been since ‘The Machinist’. Shot in typical Mann style we follow Dillinger from small time crook to big time celebrity as he lives fast, for the moment, on the edge, always outwitting J.Edgar Hoover’s crack crime force. The pacing, as always, means that the over two hours doesn’t feel like it, the score a mixture of orchestral, blues and jazz fits the mood perfectly. There’s romance, drama, action and the shoot outs, no one does a shoot out like Michael Mann its as if every bullet counts, each one a punch, you can hear the bullet leave the gun and arrive at its destination, its gun play choreography at its best. Marion Cotillard fresh from her Oscar winning portrayal of Edith Piaf is great as Dillinger’s love interest and despite very little screen time Billy Crudup is amazing as the callous and determined Hoover. All in all this is what you want from a film, engaging, thought provoking, amazing attention to detail, multi-layered, a solid story and expert direction. They don’t make them like this anymore, but thankfully one person still does.

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