MOVIEmeter
Top 5000
Up 183 this week

Public Enemies (2009)

 -  Biography | Crime | Drama  -  1 July 2009 (USA)
7.0
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.0/10 from 201,329 users   Metascore: 70/100
Reviews: 579 user | 348 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.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

Editors' Spotlight

Sundance 2015

Watch our IMDb & AIV Sundance Studio Interviews with Keith Simanton

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 25 titles
created 27 Nov 2010
 
a list of 22 titles
created 05 Jan 2011
 
a list of 40 titles
created 02 Feb 2013
 
a list of 44 titles
created 03 Sep 2013
 
a list of 21 titles
created 09 Nov 2013
 

Related Items

Search for "Public Enemies" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Public Enemies (2009)

Public Enemies (2009) on IMDb 7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Public Enemies.

User Polls

1 win & 12 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

3:10 to Yuma (2007)
Adventure | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A small-time rancher agrees to hold a captured outlaw who's awaiting a train to go to court in Yuma. A battle of wills ensues as the outlaw tries to psych out the rancher.

Director: James Mangold
Stars: Russell Crowe, Christian Bale, Ben Foster
Blow (2001)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The story of George Jung, the man who established the American cocaine market in the 1970s.

Director: Ted Demme
Stars: Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Franka Potente
The Fighter I (2010)
Biography | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A look at the early years of boxer "Irish" Micky Ward and his brother who helped train him before going pro in the mid 1980s.

Director: David O. Russell
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams
Donnie Brasco (1997)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An FBI undercover agent infilitrates the mob and finds himself identifying more with the mafia life to the expense of his regular one.

Director: Mike Newell
Stars: Al Pacino, Johnny Depp, Michael Madsen
The Tourist (2010)
Action | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Revolves around Frank, an American tourist visiting Italy to mend a broken heart. Elise is an extraordinary woman who deliberately crosses his path.

Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Stars: Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Paul Bettany
Miami Vice (2006)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Based on the 1980s TV action/drama, this update focuses on vice detectives Crockett and Tubbs as their respective personal and professional lives become dangerously intertwined.

Director: Michael Mann
Stars: Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, Li Gong
Secret Window (2004)
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A writer is accused for plagiarism by a strange man, who then starts haunting him for "justice."

Director: David Koepp
Stars: Johnny Depp, Maria Bello, John Turturro
Collateral (2004)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A cab driver finds himself the hostage of an engaging contract killer as he makes his rounds from hit to hit during one night in Los Angeles. He must find a way to save both himself and one last victim.

Director: Michael Mann
Stars: Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith
The Rum Diary (2011)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

American journalist Paul Kemp takes on a freelance job in Puerto Rico for a local newspaper during the 1960s and struggles to find a balance between island culture and the expatriates who live there.

Director: Bruce Robinson
Stars: Johnny Depp, Giovanni Ribisi, Aaron Eckhart
The Machinist (2004)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An industrial worker who hasn't slept in a year begins to doubt his own sanity.

Director: Brad Anderson
Stars: Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A wealthy New York investment banking executive hides his alternate psychopathic ego from his co-workers and friends as he escalates deeper into his illogical, gratuitous fantasies.

Director: Mary Harron
Stars: Christian Bale, Justin Theroux, Josh Lucas
The Insider (1999)
Biography | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A research chemist comes under personal and professional attack when he decides to appear in a "60 Minutes" expose on Big Tobacco.

Director: Michael Mann
Stars: Russell Crowe, Al Pacino, Christopher Plummer
Edit

Cast

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

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

Taglines:

America's Most Wanted


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

1 July 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Enemigos públicos  »

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:

| |

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Contains a spoiler to the Clark Gable movie Manhattan Melodrama (1934). See more »

Goofs

In the film, the three workers that come out of Little Bohemia Lodge get into a 1932 Chevy 4-door. It actually should be a 1933 Chevy coupe. The car the gang used for the Racine robbery in the film (with the blonde hostage) was a 1935 Buick 90. It should actually be a 1933 Buick 90. See more »

Quotes

J. Edgar Hoover: John Dillinger held up a bank for $74,000 while you failed to arrest Nelson.
Melvin Purvis: Sir, I take full responsibility. And I would like to make a request. That we transfer men with special qualifications to augment the staff here in Chicago. There are some former Texas and Oklahoma lawmen currently with the Bureau in Dallas.
J. Edgar Hoover: I thought you understood what I'm building. A modern force of professional young men of the best sort.
Melvin Purvis: I'm afraid our type cannot get the job done.
J. Edgar Hoover: Excuse me, I cannot hear you.
Melvin Purvis: Our...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Soundtracks

The Last Round Up
Written by Billy Hill
Performed by Gene Autry
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
The devil is in the details
5 July 2009 | by (Berkeley, California) – See all my reviews

It's as hard to get a grip on Mann's impressive but vaguely off-putting new movie about John Dillinger's last thirteen months as it is to project yourself into the coldly beautiful digital images. The title itself provides a clue to the problem: it doesn't focus on the star criminal embodied by the charismatic and -- here -- coolly dashing Johnny Depp, whose quips and provocations in the trailer draw us into the theater to see him, only him, and his bold exploits. It points instead to the wider focus of Mann's book source -- 'Vanity Fair' writer Bryan Burroughs' 600 pages of meticulous research, 'Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34.' Relentless G-man Purvis (a convincing but bloodless Christian Bale) and his rising boss FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover (Billy Crudup, both droll and period) are part of another story as important as the bank robber's final wide ride, the story of the growing cruelty and relentlessness of the forces of American law.

Look at another title of a movie about a doomed but spectacular crime spree: Arthur Penn's 'Bonnie and Clyde.' That 1967 classic works so well because it's character-driven. Even in the sketchy but powerful scenes that outline John Dillinger's romance with French-Native American hatcheck girl Billie Frechette (Marion Cottillard, working wonders with limited material), character is subsidiary to function: "I rob banks," Johnny says. And then: "What else you need to know?" Well, quite a lot, actually, for a rounded character to emerge. Mann's movie is meticulous as to period look, to facade, but not to essence. Its street scenes are full of detail, its clothes immaculate and accurate. Taking place in 1933-34, however, it provides too few overt signs of the Great Depression. The film is also misleading in showing the Dillinger gang only robbing grand, marble-hall-and-column banks, when in fact they mostly robbed small and middling sized ones.

The overall result is a collection of contradictions. There is romance, but the effect isn't romantic. There's precise realism, but the overall effect isn't realistic. Perhaps the only unmitigated pleasure that remains is the images, the digital with its cold precision, its crisp edges even when many of the cameras are jiggly and hand-held, the depth of detail in darkness, the color that is neither bright nor faded, the sheer satisfying crispness of everything and everybody. And in this one aspect, a sublimely heightened vérité whose look is something quite new, 'Public Enemies' matches 'Bonnie and Clyde:' it makes us feel we're seeing period scenes with contemporary eyes. The best and most memorable images are the complex ones you won't see in stills where many actors are running back and forth in front of the camera, the gunshots are popping realistically in every direction, and there is no hint of the usual film chiaroscuro or highlighting, but the light is somehow beautiful. The cameras move too much, but they do rub your face in the action. What's gong on you may figure out later.

Maybe you can't avoid mythologizing when you shoot a movie about a famous Thirties bank robber and shouldn't try to, but Mann does. He's working, with great accomplishment, from that meticulous historical account, involving dozens of players on both the cop and the crook sides. Dillinger (and alternatively the totally unappealing Purvis) stay in the foreground. But there too is a contradiction, because the way Depp plays his part, witty, cold, and focused rather than warm and down-to-earth, his character ends up being impressive, but ultimately absent. (Contrast Warren Beatty's impotence and blinking charm as Clyde Barrow, an absence you yet want to cuddle.) Even when the characters are strong in Public Enemies, they don't get enough chance to interact. Dillinger is rarely with Frechette. His chance to confront Purivs is too brief, the moment when Purvis tells him he's to be extradited to Indiana and he quips, "There's absolutely nothing I want to do in Indiana." He's not facing off Purvis; he's playing to the audience.

This should have been one of the showpieces of the season, and it is indeed a blockbuster with class in a world of junk. Its virtuoso look and complexly orchestrated scenes will hold up with time, but despite a freshness in approaching familiar genre material, it's missing that certain 'je ne sais quoi.' Even though it's different, it lacks style, movie-making panache, playfulness, suspense, the ability to push a climax, the capacity to take a breather so the momentum builds up again. There's an impressive twittering machine functioning here on all its Ford V8 cylinders. But the light touch is missing, the capacity to make you say "Yeah!", to simultaneously stand apart and admire while utterly caught up in it all.


23 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Worst cinematography in recent memory. backofthemind
What would be different if the events of the movie happened today? dmcreif
Am I the only one who actually likes this movie? ritarams
Only the most ardent Mann fans will dispute this randywst16
I hated Dillinger and wanted him to die. What did I miss? iamdoingthat
Why was Carey Mulligan in this movie? rediguana
Discuss Public Enemies (2009) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page