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DVD Review – Public Enemies

Posted on December 18th, 2009

by Jenny Jones

Is there any role that Johnny Depp can not master? I think not! He is without a doubt one of my favorite actors; always capturing my undivided attention no matter whether he is wearing chalky white makeup as Willy Wonka, singing his heart out in Sweeney Todd or blowing up enemy ships and sipping on bottles of rum as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean. He is truly a gifted artist, who brings to life each new character he steps into. In “Public Enemies” he teams up with award winning Producer/Director Michael Mann, Academy Award winner Marion Cotillard and yes, even Christian Bale has something positive to contribute to this movie, creating an absolutely captivating depiction of the fast paced, action-packed life of the most infamous criminal mastermind of the 1920’s.

Who could better portray the charismatic bank robber who won over the hearts of the American Public? Depp once again steals the spotlight, but he was not alone this time. Marion Cotillard and Christian Bale both gave brilliant performances.

As the first to be labeled “Public Enemy Number One” by the F.B.I., John Dillinger ignored the threats of authorities, the cold shoulders of his comrades and the warnings of those close to him and lived his life fast and hard on the lamb… taking whatever and whomever he wanted along the way. This wild ride included Ms. Billie Frechette (played stunningly by Marion Cotillard), who found herself under the watchful eyes of not only the most wanted criminal in the United States but also that of the F.B.I.’s top field agents in the hopes of flushing out their prey. Their life on the run gets them into some slippery situations with the law and leads to some extremely impressive sounding car chases and gun fights, culminating in a final unforgettable shoot’em up showdown.

The recreation of 1920’s life is flawless. The stylish fashions, hair and makeup, the cars, streets and buildings… every scene was a flashback to a different time and place. A time when life was hard and the criminals were harder. These guys took held up banks, took hostages of women and children, drank hard alcohol, partied with easy women, gambled, smoked and carried big loud guns with plenty of ammo. All this and more adds up to an extremely entertaining movie for the audience.

Although the dialogue was somewhat difficult to hear at times the overall sound was outstanding. Watch for a night time stand off between authorities and gangsters that unfolds in the eerie silence of the cold, dark woods. Also a striking auditory delight where a train slowly crawls into the station, the sound is incredible!

Michael Mann may be best known for his direction and/or production of such blockbusters as Hancock, The Kingdom, Miami Vice and The Aviator (just to name a few), but we will undoubtedly have to add “Public Enemies” to this ever-growing list of audience favorites.


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