Thursday, July 02, 2009
Nobody working today can touch director Michael Mann when it comes to crime drama. "Public Enemies" works on almost every level for an adult audience looking for a quality film among animation, CGI, and explosions.
Johnny Depp stars as bank robber John Dillinger and Christian Bale is Melvin Pervis, the FBI's special agent charged with bringing down. Mr. Depp reaches deep to bring Dillinger to life and no one can top Mr. Bale when it comes to intensity. There are many scenes with little or no dialog and yet both actors convey so much through their expressions.
You can find similarities with Mr. Mann's earlier work, "Heat" starring Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro. Mr. Depp and Mr. Bale only have a few minutes of screen time together but it generates the same excitement as that earlier film. And I found the gun play equal to or even better than the shootouts in "Heat".
Using hand held camera's, Mr. Mann draws us intimately into this violent world. His excellent cinematography, editing and use of the film's music adds so much depth and color to the story, at times scenes are just poetry in motion.
Marion Cotillard co-stars as Billie Frechette, Mr. Dillinger's "moll" and she proves here that her performance as Edith Piaf was no fluke. Billy Crudup makes an interesting choice as J. Edgar Hoover and the rest of the cast is filled out by very reliable character actors including Stephen Lang, Stephen Dorff and Jason Clarke.
"Public Enemies" brings the heat.