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Public Enemies (2009)

 -  Biography | Crime | Drama  -  1 July 2009 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 182,845 users   Metascore: 70/100
Reviews: 564 user | 347 critic | 35 from Metacritic.com

The Feds try to take down notorious American gangsters John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd during a booming crime wave in the 1930s.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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John Judd ...
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John Kishline ...
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John Scherp ...
Elena Kenney ...
William Nero Jr. ...
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Storyline

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. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

1930s | fbi | bank | j. edgar hoover | love | See more »

Taglines:

America's Most Wanted


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for gangster violence and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 July 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Public Enemies  »

Box Office

Budget:

$100,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£1,048,359 (UK) (10 July 2009)

Gross:

$97,030,725 (USA) (28 August 2009)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In a Senate hearing scene, when asked how many people he has arrested personally, J. Edgar Hoover (Billy Crudup) sheepishly admits, "I have never arrested anybody." In real life, this was a point of embarrassment to Hoover, and he decided to correct it. On May 1, 1936, FBI agents tracked down Alvin Karpis (played by Giovanni Ribisi in the film) in New Orleans. Hoover flew to New Orleans and personally arrested Karpis as he sat in his car outside his hideout. News reports of the arrest made Hoover a national hero, and solidified his image as a powerful law enforcement officer. However, Karpis later claimed that Hoover's involvement in his arrest was not quite so heroic. Supposedly, Hoover waited in a nearby FBI car while Federal agents surrounded Karpis as gunpoint. Then Hoover walked over to Karpis and told him he was under arrest. When Hoover told the FBI agents, "Put the cuffs on him, boys" the FBI men realized they hadn't brought any handcuffs, and Karpis's hands had to be secured using an agent's necktie. See more »

Goofs

The steam engine used in the film was Milwaukee road 261. This locomotive used in the film was manufactured in 1944 by American Locomotive Works a decade after John Dillinger's time. See more »

Quotes

[Hoover is at a Senate Appropriation Committee hearing]
Senator Kenneth McKellar: Why do we need this?
J. Edgar Hoover: Because criminals flee in fast automobiles across state lines, thereby defeating local jurisdiction because there is no federal police force to stop them.
Senator Kenneth McKellar: By my tally, your bureau wants to spend more taxpayer's dollars catching crooks, than what the crooks you catch stole in the first place.
J. Edgar Hoover: Well that's ridiculous. The Bureau has apprehended kidnappers and bank robbers who have stolen up to and in excess of...
Senator Kenneth McKellar: Really?
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

The title of the movie is not shown until the end credits. See more »


Soundtracks

Close Your Eyes
(1931)
Written by Desmond Carter, H.M. Tennent
Performed by Al Bowlly with Lew Stone and His Orchestra
Courtesy of Decca Music Group Limited
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
It is an entertaining backseat ride into the life of a country boy turned bank robber
1 July 2009 | by (www.SpicyMovieDogs.com) – See all my reviews

With Billie Holiday singing her heart out and the subtle details of cracked nail polish and $3 dresses, Public Enemies brings you into the era of the Great Depression without boring you with back stories and explanations.

It is an honest bio-pic with little factual variations outside of John Dillinger's romantic ambitions. It is an entertaining backseat ride into the life of a country boy turned bank robber in a time where America hated money-makers and banks. A time when people were starving and in need of a gun-toting, charismatic mid-western boy to stir things up a bit, one bank robbery at a time.

A Cast of Winning Players Director Michael Mann is known best for Heat, Collateral and Miami Vice. His attention to detail is known and it is said that he went above the call of duty in his research for this movie. Obviously he deemed it important to depict a true version of the Dillinger story with a bit of Hollywood sprinkled in to keep our attention. Johnny Depp is solid as the charismatic bank robber, adopting his mannerisms, speech and swagger and even the trademark smirk that is seen on all of Dillinger's photos. Christian Bale is perfect as Melvin Purvis, looking similar to the "G man" and confidently playing the role convincingly.

Digital Camera and No true sense of good and Bad The camera threw me off a bit switching from an old sepia toned look to a digital one during fights. At times it made you feel as if you were an observant on the street while other times it felt just like a movie. I wasn't sure why this was but I concluded that Mann wanted us to be there with Dillinger most of the time and at other times we are to observe from a distance. There was no great love felt for any of the dark heroes, the charismatic Dillinger was likable but I never felt concern for his well-being. The FBI agent in Purvis (Christian Bale) was the typical white knight archetype and was given little personality outside of this so I felt nothing for him either. The romance between Dillinger and Billie Frechette (Marion Cotillard) was interesting but felt clichéd (gangsters always have THAT chick in these movies) and just like real life that political blowhard J.Edgar Hoover (Billy Crudup) is the only real "bad guy" in the entire film.

Final Thoughts It felt like a different time period and the choreography of the gunfights were done well enough to keep me interested. With as colorful a crew as the boys who ran with John Dillinger, it would have been hard to direct a movie like this while keeping everyone relative. Men like Alvin Karpis (Giovanni Ribisi), Pretty Boy Floyd (Channing Tatum) and Baby Face Nelson (Stephen Graham) are given screen time, as well as Capone's number one do-boy Frank Nitti (Bill Camp). Still there was so much shown that you tend to lose your familiarity with Dillinger's quest for whatever it is he wanted and the hopelessness of his situation settles in after awhile. It is a good movie with no real emotional weight, just a "this is what happened" gloss to the entire thing with a sprinkling of charisma to top it off. If anything, you will go researching Dillinger and gang after the movie has piqued your interest.

www.SpicyMovieDogs.com


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Recent Posts
What would be different if the events of the movie happened today? dmcreif
Worst cinematography in recent memory. backofthemind
I hated Dillinger and wanted him to die. What did I miss? iamdoingthat
Only the most ardent Mann fans will dispute this randywst16
Am I the only one who actually likes this movie? ritarams
Why was Carey Mulligan in this movie? rediguana
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