Public Enemies

I can't remember the last time a film delivered the whole package ~ impeccable acting at all levels; smart, efficient directing; intelligent art design, a beautiful score, etc. Maybe Eastwood's "Changeling"? In any event, Michael Mann's "Public Enemies" delivers some fine action and two or three wonderful performances ~ Johnny Depp as John Dillinger, Marion Cottliard as his moll Billie Frechette and Billy Crudup as J. Edgar Hoover ~ and immaculate period art direction and a sumptuous score that plays heavily into the narrative but the film is too often over-modulated and frantic and, in that regard, unsatisfying. In fact, the quieter scenes between Depp and Cottliard are splendid. She really is quite an actress. The bloody gunfights, while somewhat artful, felt like homages to Arthur Penn's Bonnie and Clyde and Sam Peckinpah's Wild Bunch. I will say the final reel is some of the best cops and robbers (literally) movie making since Brian DePalma's The Untouchables, but it wasn't enough to make this a great film.


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