Weekend Movie: ‘Public Enemies’

By Mad Dog
Published: Jul 09, 2009

It’s summer, and at the movies you mostly have a choice between PG-13 stupid and R-rated stupid. So it was a great relief to spend two hours with Michael Mann’s movie about 1930s bank robber John Dillinger. First, for Johnny Depp, who gives a dead-end loser enough sizzle so that, at the end, when the camera cuts from Depp to Clark Gable, it’s hard to say who’s cooler. And then for Mann’s visual style — blink, and you’re certain to miss a haunting image. I had some arguments with the script. And all men in fedoras do tend to look alike. Most of all, the violence is very tough to watch, in the way that real violence is tough to watch. But Mann’s take on the world is just as tough — who’s worse, you’ll ask yourself, the crooks or the cops — and if you’re looking for an adult movie, here you go. The trailer will either convince you — or not.