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The story of a man whose criminal exploits captivated a nation besieged by financial hardship and who robbed the banks that had impoverished them and outsmarted the authorities, who inspired the first nationwide war on crime, who led a band of accomplished armed robbers, and whose dashing manner and charisma entranced not only a special woman but an entire country: legendary Depression-era outlaw John Dillinger.
Crime Drama - This is a violent period gangster drama based on the true story of
John Dillinger. This is a big star vehicle for Johnny Depp, and fans
of co-star Christian Bale may be surprised and disappointed by his
fairly limited screen time. Those expecting something more like an
action film may be disappointed.
OPINION OVERVIEW The following is the original "What's Worth
Watching" write-up for this movie.
Based on a theater exit polling of 99 moviegoers:
TEENS:Both males and females loved "Public Enemies."
TWENTYSOMETHINGS:The male reviews are good but not great. Three-quarters enjoyed it very much with many loving it. However, some were disappointed. As for the ladies, only a small percentage loved it. Most rated it "Above Average." Unfortunately, a third only rated it "Good/Average," which is somewhat low.
ADULTS: The male reviews are very typical. Three-quarters enjoyed it very much and most of the rest rated it "Good/Average." The female reviews are actually higher than the males. Many more of them loved "Public Enemies." However, a quarter of them only rated it "Good/Average," which is a bit disappointing.
No one could stop John Dillinger (JOHNNY DEPP) and his gang. No
jail could hold him. His charm and audacious jailbreaks
endeared him to almost everyone—from
his girlfriend Billie Frechette (MARION
COTILLARD) to Americans who were
looking for a symbol to divert them
from their everyday hardships. They
found it in the man who took from
the banks the monies they felt the
banks had wrongly taken from them.
But while the adventures of
Dillinger's gang—later including
the sociopathic Baby Face Nelson
(STEPHEN GRAHAM) and robber/ kidnapper
Alvin Karpis (GIOVANNI
RIBISI)—thrilled many, J. Edgar Hoover (BILLY CRUDUP)
planned to exploit the outlaw's capture as a way to
elevate his Bureau of Investigation into the national
police force that became the FBI. He made
Dillinger America's first Public Enemy Number
One and sent in Purvis, the dashing "Clark Gable of
the FBI,” to snare him.
However, Dillinger and his gang outwitted and
outgunned Purvis' men in wild chases and
shootouts. Only after importing a crew of lawmen
from the Dallas bureau and orchestrating epic
betrayals—from the infamous "Lady in Red”
(BRANKA KATIC) to
Chicago crime boss Frank Nitti (BILL CAMP)—were Purvis, the
FBI and their new crew of gunfighters able to close
in on their prey.
Drawn back to the very city where his obsession
with both Frechette and bank robbing began,
Dillinger, for once and for all, ended this pursuit by
Purvis. And when all was said and done, the entire
country learned that with the death of one of its
heroes came the birth of a legend.