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Public Enemies

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Product Overview

The feds try to take down notorious american gangsters john dillinger, baby face nelson and pretty boy floyd during a booming crime wave in the 1930s.

Specifications

Studio Universal Home Video
SKU 212633040
UPC 025192044755
UPC 14 00025192044755
Format DVD
Release Date 12/8/2009
Rating Rating
Aspect Ratio
Anamorphic Widescreen  2.40:1
Reviews
ReviewSource ReelViews
Review There's something almost old-fashioned about Michael Mann's Public Enemies, a mostly factual re-telling of the descent and death of John Dillinger (Johnny Depp), one of the 1930s most infamous bank robbers. More drama than thriller, the movie does a slightly better job with period detail than with character building. While Dillinger is sympathetically portrayed, he falls just short of full three-dimensionality, with the character never quite emerging from the shadow of the real-world legend. Dillinger's pursuer, Federal agent Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale), fares worse: he's a perfect stereotype of the grim, humorless lawman, bent on delivering justice to criminals by using the business end of a firearm. That's not to say Public Enemies is by any means a bad film; on the contrary, it's quite engaging. It is competently constructed and often compelling, but it will not be mentioned in the same breath as some of its classic predecessors...Bryan Burrough, the author of the source material, has admitted that, although the movie takes a certain amount of artistic license with history, it is the most factual telling of Dillinger's story thus far to appear on screen. Mann does not overglamorize the bank robbing lifestyle, although he shows the gap between how Dillinger is viewed by law enforcement officials (as a dangerous man who needs to be stopped at all costs) and by the general public (as a Robin Hood-like figure). Public Enemies also touches none-too-subtly on a topic of some contemporary concern: what constitutes an "unacceptable practice" in extreme interrogations. This is raised twice during the course of the film, most notably when Frechette is battered and beaten in an attempt to force Dillinger's location from her. Finally, there is a nod to America's fascination with the lurid. After Dillinger is shot dead, a massive crowd gathers to view the spectacle...Although Public Enemies does not ascend to the heights of Bonnie and Clyde or The Untouchables, it is nevertheless an effective depiction of the final months of the life of one of the United States' most infamous criminals. Of all the cinematic versions of Dillinger's life and/or death, this is the most dramatically compelling. It's an imperfect motion picture but Depp and Cotillard are compulsively watchable and there's enough intrigue and historical veracity to make the 140 minutes pass quickly. If you can overcome issues associated with the hand-held camerawork, Public Enemies is solid in both its storytelling and the way in which the narrative is represented on screen.
ReviewDate
ReviewPage
Reviewer James Berardinelli
ReviewRating 8
ReviewSource Chicago Sun-Times
Review "I rob banks," John Dillinger would sometimes say by way of introduction. It was the simple truth. That was what he did. For the 13 months between the day he escaped from prison and the night he lay dying in an alley, he robbed banks. It was his lifetime. Michael Mann's Public Enemies accepts that stark fact and refuses any temptation to soften it. Dillinger was not a nice man...Here is a film that shrugs off the way we depend on myth to sentimentalize our outlaws. There is no interest here about John Dillinger's childhood, his psychology, his sexuality, his famous charm, his Robin Hood legend. He liked sex, but not as much as robbing banks. "He robbed the bankers but let the customers keep their own money." But whose money was in the banks? He kids around with reporters and lawmen, but that was business. He doesn't kid around with the members of his gang. He might have made a very good military leader...Johnny Depp and Michael Mann show us that we didn't know all about Dillinger. We only thought we did. Here is an efficient, disciplined, bold, violent man, driven by compulsions the film wisely declines to explain. His gang members loved the money they were making. Dillinger loved planning the next job. He had no exit strategy or retirement plans...Mann is fearless with his research. If I mention the Lady in Red, Anna Sage (Branka Katic), who betrayed Dillinger outside the Biograph when the movie was over, how do you picture her? I do too. We are wrong. In real life she was wearing a white blouse and an orange skirt, and she does in the movie. John Ford once said, When the legend becomes fact, print the legend. This may be a case where he was right. Mann might have been wise to decide against the orange and white and just break down and give Anna Sage a red dress...This is a very good film, with Depp and Bale performances of brutal clarity. I'm trying to understand why it is not quite a great film. I think it may be because it deprives me of some stubborn need for closure. His name was John Dillinger, and he robbed banks. But there had to be more to it than that, right? No, apparently not.
ReviewDate
ReviewPage
Reviewer Roger Ebert
ReviewRating 9
Features
DVD, Special Edition, No Longer Produced
Product Attributes
Video Format DVD
Quotes
Ian Nathan, Empire Intelligent and challenging: Mann's crime epic could take two viewings to fully absorb, but it's worth every devoted minute.
Manohla Dargis, The New York Times A grave and beautiful work of art.
Matthew Sorrento, FilmThreat.com This is the purest of American narratives, and this, indeed, is one of our finest storytellers.
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