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Another Michael Mann Masterpiece
on July 3, 2009
"Public Enemies" proves that Michael Mann is right up there with Martin Scorsese at directing compelling crime dramas. This film, based on a book detailing the nexus of John Dillinger, J. Edgar Hoover, and Melvin Purvis, covers the last year and a half in the life of the famed bank robber, who was branded "Public Enemy Number 1" by Hoover, who was building what would become the FBI. Chasing Dillinger for Hoover was Purvis, who relentlessly pursued Dillinger until the fateful night outside the Biography Theater in Chicago.
Johnny Depp plays Dillinger as a fun-loving but dangerous criminal whose only plan seems to be to live life on the edge until he falls off. As usual, his performance is engaging and utterly believable. Billy Crudup wonderfully plays Hoover as a man obsessed with growing the Bureau, obsessed with public relations, and obsessed with capturing John Dilliger, and Christian Bale plays Purvis as an intelligent, capable, and caught in the difficult position of trying to catch Dillinger while at the same time pleasing a demanding, overbearing publicity seeker.
The film features great supporting performances from Marion Cotillard as Dillinger's girlfriend, Billie Frechette, and Stephen Lang as a veteran Bureau agent assigned to hunt Dillinger.
This is film has plenty of action and thrills, but also possesses great acting, intelligent writing, and masterful directing by Mann. Public Enemies is one the best films to come out in the summer of '09.