A Summer Drama

Ah, crime dramas. There have been quite a few crime dramas over the years – most of which passed under the radar. There’s Eastern Promises (an intense film with Viggo Mortensen), Road to Perdition (Tom Hanks as a hit man, rather brilliant), and American Gangster (with Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe).

But, Public Enemies with Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Billy Crudup, and even Channing Tatum as psycho Pretty Boy Boyd, won’t pass under the radar. Not when the audience is thrust straight into a world of criminal activity during the Depression with John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson, and Frank Nitti.

No, Public Enemies (directed by Michael Mann) will be the talk of many. What with its quick dialogue and rather realistic action scenes.

There’s also a brilliantly dynamitic balance of humor, drama, and tragedy in the movie.

Depp is spectacular as Dillinger and plays well with Billie Frechette (Marion Cotillard), the love interest, and Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale), the FBI. Dillinger is a man for the moment. Live the life as its present, not as it could be or was. And what a mindset to have in 1933!

And such a mindset (along with the idea of seeing everything as an opportunity) makes Dillinger public enemy number 1.

The hunt, or rather the cat-and-mouse mock-up that Dillinger and Purvis participate in will keep the audience enthralled. With every moment when you think one, or the other, has meant an end, well, they’ve something up their sleeve.

That, combined with the myriad of other criminals in the movie makes for a sweet crime drama.

My only warning is that the characters aren’t in-depth enough (at times). I know there were lots of John Dillinger documentaries on TV these last few months, but that doesn’t mean I watched them. The plot was intriguing, the acting was great, but there were times you felt obligated to have known the characters before viewing the movie.

But, without a doubt, Public Enemies is still a splendid movie. It’s definitely a crime drama that won’t be missed and it’s a great summer film that’ll entertain those lucky adults who weren’t suckered into seeing Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs with the kids. (It’s a funny movie, though. Ice Age 3.)

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