[REVIEW] Public Enemies


Public Enemies (Rating: R)

Cast: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, Billy Crudup, Stephen Dorff, Stephan Lang

Director: Michael Mann

“Tommy-gun” gangster movies seem to be a requisite for every Hollywood movie maker, and Michael Mann gets his street cred with Public Enemies. The movie is a bit misleading, as it says Enemies plural but is all about the main character, John Dillinger (Depp), and the quest to capture him and his type of outlaw, depression era bank robbers. He is after all, Public Enemy #1, though in the movie, the public adores him.

Depp gives the Dillinger character class, and romanticizes his morality by knocking out bank executives (who wouldn’t want to do that these days?) while leaving the people’s hard earned dollars on the table.  He is the last of his kind, as Hoover’s (Crudup) FBI is beginning to evolve into the all knowing, all jurisdiction federal force we know today, and enterprising criminals are moving from violent robbery to the more “organized” variety.

Hoover sends one of his best and brightest, Melvin Purvis (Bale) to hunt and bring Dillinger to justice. The typical cat and mouse game ensues, with close calls and frustrating near captures. Purvis learns that you need brawn as well as brains to get Dillinger types, and gets that help from seasoned Texas lawman Charles Winstead (Lang)

On the way through the obvious, Dillinger takes a fancy to a half French, half Native American coat-check girl, Billie Frenchette (Cotillard), who he takes on his exciting ride through outlaw-dom. They live off dreams of a better life, and the idea of never leaving each other, despite the realities that surround them.

The rest of the movie is of the typical Hollywood fair, there are interactions with the most famous of criminals of that era, lots of shooting, dead cops and gangsters, a few daring jailbreaks, and car chases in those cool period cars that only seem to come in black.

If you are looking for meaning, consider the questions the movie poses on whether Purvis and his G-Men are actual law-men or government sponsored assassins, and the obvious commentary on the effectiveness of “enhanced” interrogation techniques. These are the new things Public Enemies brings to the table, as well as bringing a much celebrated movie genre to today’s audience.

With that said, I couldn’t fit this movie into any of my Daddy criteria, meaning I wouldn’t waste brownie points on it, I wouldn’t pay for a sitter, nor pack up the minivan. So I’m going to have to recommend busy dads wait for video so you can crawl up on the sofa with a glass of wine, some popcorn, and your +1 to watch a good gangster flick while the kids are sleeping.

This film has been rated R for gangster violence and some language.

Your Daddy Time: Worth It or Wasted? Wasted. 2.5 our of 5 Stars.

The Worth It/Wasted Rating System is for dads who need to know one thing- Is this movie WORTH IT to:

* Pack up the kids, bags, etc and trek to the theater – or
* Find a babysitter so Dad can have a date night – or
* Cash in brownie points with the Mrs. so he can go with his buddies

If it doesn’t fit these simple criteria, the movie gets the WASTED rating, which means – don’t waste the precious time you have, wait for video/cable when you can squeeze it between chores, work and sleep.

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