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4,483 Ratings

Public Enemies

Directed by Michael Mann
United States, 2009
Biography, Crime, Drama


A chronicle of the last years of the life of notorious bank robber John Dillinger in 1930s Chicago, as an elite FBI agent tracks him and his gang down.

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Public Enemies Directed by Michael Mann
[DP Dante] Spinotti didn’t sputter when he returned for the digitally shot Public Enemies, Mann’s moving John Dillinger epic, in which the grain and ease-of-movement of the imagery prove a perfect match with the Tommy Gun popping and Johnny Depp’s exit strategy-eyeing, doomed “dark currents” (in Mann’s words).
February 04, 2016
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It helps that Public Enemies doesn’t look like any movie ever made, aside from Mann’s own subsequent Blackhat. It’s shot largely on location in a nervy, abstracted off-the-cuff digital style, which has the effect of making everything seem at once immediate and totally unfamiliar—never more dazzlingly than during the shootout at the Little Bohemia Lodge, one of the most visceral depictions of gunfire to ever grace a screen.
January 23, 2015
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Even five year later, it feels like no one will ever one-up Mann’s grammatical understanding of digital filmmaking. With Public Enemies, Mann opened up a whole world of possibilities for the future of filmmaking… Public Enemies is not only one of the most concise action films of the last decade, but also an incredibly knowing look at the American dream.
January 05, 2015
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What are people saying?

  • T. J. Mesen's rating of the film Public Enemies

    Mann is aware that films say more of the time in which they're made than the time in which they're set. Public Enemies is a g̶a̶n̶g̶s̶t̶e̶r̶ film electrified by a modern digital aesthetic to the point that it's not a costume drama, but a piece of humanity and our innate attachment to images/symbols of ourselves. It's action, romance, and death as expressions of the collective ideas we represent. Life is image.

  • Warren Spratley's rating of the film Public Enemies

    The origins, developments, & purposes of the image. Life is a prison: Mann's initial thesis. But no concept is easily manageable here; counteraction abounds. Depp is Depp & Dillinger at all times. By the end, this amalgamation of man & image faces a supreme image-maker &, in a moment of absolute transcendence, fully grasps how an image relates to a society which requires forms. Figural cinema of the highest order.

  • J. O.'s rating of the film Public Enemies

    An ultra-stylish (although perhaps too digital at times) take on the gangster film with performances that aren't rooted in cliché or homage and cinematography that borders on documentary realism. The beautiful bursts of gunfire and highly detailed set pieces are just two reasons to revisit this film. Additionally, the soundtrack was well-suited and the climax was woeful and surprising.

  • HKFanatic's rating of the film Public Enemies

    A modern masterpiece full of sweeping romanticism and existential dread, and Michael Mann's best crime film since "Heat." The digital photography creates utter transparency; the impression is not that these are actors dressed up in period clothing and driving antique cars, but that we are witnessing a window into history itself. The Little Bohemia sequence must be the best shootout I've seen in the past 10 years.

  • Lights in the Dusk's rating of the film Public Enemies

    The gangster film presented as a psychological study on loneliness, futility and the changing world; with the internal thoughts and feelings of characters, their inadequacies and uncertainties, being suggested through sound and image. Mann introduces a new visual grammar to the American cinema; the fly on the wall made epic. The most significant "digital film" since Shunji Iwai's All About Lily Chou Chou.

  • Zachary T.'s rating of the film Public Enemies

    Highlight of the movie for me is Stephen Graham as Baby Face Nelson, that man is a goddamn chameleon. A rather simplistic, old-fashioned and Hollywoodesque screenplay clashes somewhat with Mann's detail-focused, crisp and distinctively modern directorial style, here. Not on the same level as "Miami Vice," "Blackhat" or "Collateral," but it has its moments.

  • Daniel S.'s rating of the film Public Enemies

    **1/2 Good movie but no sooner seen than forgotten. In fact, who needs nowadays another film about Dillinger, Capone, Baby Face Nelson or any of these bad guys Hollywood seems to worship ? The scene with Marion Cotillard being carried by Christian Bale to the bathroom is one of the most ridiculous scenes I've seen in months. But, fortunately, as I said before, I don't mind because I've already forgotten this film.

  • Dave's rating of the film Public Enemies

    Stylish and sleek as only Michael Mann can make it. Perhaps not as engrossing as I had hope, story-wise, but in spots it is absolutely thrilling. The final scene is incredible, almost making you feel bad for Dillinger.

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