Demotivational Poster of the Day

Demotivational Poster of the Day

Monday, March 22, 2010

Public Enemies (2009)

This is the story of the last few years of the notorious bank robber John Dillinger. He loved what he did and could imagine little else that would make him happier. Living openly in 1930s Chicago, he had the run of the city with little fear of reprisals from the authorities. It's there that he meets Billie Frechette with whom he falls deeply in love. In parallel we meet Melvin Purvis, the FBI agent who would eventually track Dillinger down. The FBI was is in its early days and Director J. Edgar Hoover was keen to promote the clean cut image that so dominated the organization through his lifetime. Purvis realizes that if he is going to get Dillinger, he will have to use street tactics and imports appropriate men with police training. Dillinger is eventually betrayed by an acquaintance who tells the authorities just where to find him on a given night.

It might be appropriate to say Public Enemies is an epic movie. At 2 ½ hours, this "based on a true story" needs to be entertaining, informative and lasting. The problem is that Public Enemies isn't a movie that will stay with me for years. Sure, there are several awesome moments, but on the whole, there really isn't a lot of pizazz. That's because it is a gangster movie that plays like a western and doesn't do either particularly well. It's a cat and mouse, cops and robbers movie and spends too much time telling us that, than getting to the point. I accept this fact in westerns, but not in gangster flicks. And I don't know what is the point of Public Enemies. Is it just to tell the career history of John Dillinger (Johnny Depp)? Is it to tell those of us who researched the real gangster or think all gangsters are mean, nasty people that they actually have an emotional side? I just don't know, and for that I cannot put this movie anywhere near the top of its genre. That doesn't mean it was a bad movie, just that it isn't much more than your average gangster biopic. Too much of the film is devoted to the set up and not enough to the execution. There won't be many saying that Public Enemies is just all right. I won't watch it again, but still glad I saw it once.

I kinda enjoyed the movie, but not enough to be thrilled with it. And that's too bad because I think Johnny Depp is awesome.


3/5 Stars

Next Review: "Moon" starring Sam Rockwell

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