“Public Enemies” is Underwhelming

I saw Public Enemies last night, directed by Michael Mann, starring Johnny Depp. It’s the dullest movie I’ve seen this year. I like the trailer more than the movie.

From FilmJerk.com:

Rarely has a wonderland of hardened gangsters, flighty dames, and widescreen bank robbing been rendered this lifeless… “Public Enemies” is stuck in neutral and it’s difficult to isolate the primary flawed component of the picture. There’s so much inertia and crummy decision making in play here, reducing “Enemies” to a 140-minute-long countdown to nowhere; a film blessed with a massive budget to go damn near anywhere it pleases within a neglected genre, and Mann picks a dead air, faux-cerebral approach to dramatize the (sorta) life and times of John Dillinger.

About Phillip

Phillip Cairns is a beekeeper in St. John's, Newfoundland, who writes about beekeeping at mudsongs.org.

6 Replies to ““Public Enemies” is Underwhelming”

  1. Jody, you might recognize Stephen Lang in the movie.


    Do you know where you’ve seen him before? (without reading too much of the Wiki entry).

    Anyway, he shows up near the end and his performance stands out from everyone else in the movie, including Johnny Depp’s. It’s as if he said, “The hell with what the director wants. I’m playing this character the way it should be played.” He steals the show. Everyone else in the movie is forgettable.

  2. Nope, don’t recognize him. Let’s now read that article more…

    OK, nothing in the article that rings any bells. Should I know him?

  3. I had the complete opposite reaction to Public Enemies. I found the film & story fascinating as well as the film style. For me this was classic cops & robbers without all the green screen special effects we have been bombarded with lately. If you’re looking for typical summer stuff, then see the mindless overblown Transformers. Public Enemies made me want to go to the movies again, but of course, it won’t appeal to everyone. Kudos to Mann not to get caught up with usual summer special effect-type films.

  4. For me, the movie is all flash and style with hardly any content or development of character or relationships between the characters. (Reminds me of Mann’s “Miami Vice.”) There is so much potential drama in the story, but none of it is on the screen. There is no reason to care about Dillinger or anyone else.

    For the very brief time he’s in the movie, Stephen Lang is outstanding (as the guy who shot Dillinger, or the first guy to shoot him anyway). He brings more to his role, just through his eyes, than anyone else in the cast. His final scene where he talks to Dillinger’s girlfriend is powerful stuff.

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