Public Enemies is the story of infamous depression era bank robber John Dillinger who became a kind of mythic Robin Hood style figure in the eyes of the poverty-stricken American public of the time.
Johnny Depp and Christian Bale starring in a legendary true-life gangster story directed by the man who brought us Heat? What could possibly go wrong…? As always seems to be the case with over-hyped Hollywood blockbusters, the script is the usual suspect when assigning blame for missed opportunities. We all know what it is that Depp and Bale are capable of, but here they have so little to work with its difficult for me to find fault with them. The film is basically just a series of beautifully shot shoot outs and jail breaks loosely strung together by a skeletal plot involving next to no character development or depth. We know nothing about their motives or how they reached this point in their lives and seem to have no meaningful relationships with any of the supporting characters. The visual side of things cannot really be faulted however and the set pieces are expertly handled by Mann, but the shadow of the infinitely superior Heat looms over the entire proceedings.
10/10 for style, but 5/10 for substance.