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Genre: Crime/Drama
Starring: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, Giovanni Ribisi, Billy Crudup, Stephen Dorff, Rory Cochrane, Stephen Lang, David Wenham, Stephen Graham, Channing Tatum, Jason Clarke
Director: Michael Mann
Rating: NC-16 (Some Violence)
Year Made: 2009



- Commentary with Director Michael Mann


Languages: English/Thai
Subtitles: English/Mandarin/ Bahasa Indonesia/Thai/Korea/
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Running Time: 2 hrs 19 mins
Region Code: NTSC
Distributor: Berjaya HVN




From visionary director Michael Mann (Heat, Collateral) comes the film inspired by one of the country’s most captivating and infamous outlaws – John Dillinger. Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean series) stars as the charismatic and elusive bank robber marked by the FBI as America’s “Public Enemy Number One” Academy Award winner Marion Catoillard (La Vie en Rose) plays Billie Frechette, the only woman capable of capturing his heart. Hunted relentlessly by top FBI agent Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale, The Dark Knight), Dillinger engages in an escalating game of cat and mouse that culminates in an explosive legendary showdown.


In the East, nobody does mixture of gunplay and tortured male personalities as well as John Woo. In the West we have Michael Mann, the man for the past who brought us De Niro/Pacino’s Heat, Crowe/Pacino’s Inside Man and Cruise/Foxx’s Collateral, all acclaimed dramas featuring the best of today’s Hollywood male stars.

After the dismal "Miami Vice", Mann is back with his own take on the Bryan Burrough's non-fiction book Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI. A simple yet engaging story of one of America’s greatest bank robber, John Dillinger (Johnny Depp) and Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale), the FBI agent sent by then director of FBI, J. Edgar Hoover to pursue him.

While not 100% historically accurate as cited by the author himself, Mann throws in great production details and strong performances from our two male protagonists. Depp gave another mesmerizing onscreen performance as Dillinger, a man who is loyal to his friends, a die-hard romantic and persistent in his goals (though not a good thing of course to go on frequent robbery sprees). Known for his compulsive method acting, Bale has to resort to playing second-fiddle to Depp’s Dillinger in "Public Enemies" given more than half of the storyline is devoted to Dillinger with a minor portion to dozens many other supporting characters such as J. Edgar Hoover (Billy Crudup), Baby Face Nelson (Stephen Graham), Homer Van Meter (Stephen Dorff) and Alvin Karpis (Giovanni Ribsi). Bale has lesser opportunity to shine here as compared to Depp though his character deserved more screentime. Not forgetting Marion Cotillard as Billie Frechette, Dillinger's longtime girlfriend. A character that is significantly important to Dillinger as portrayed in the movie though unfortunately she was not by his side when he was gunned down outside a theatre.

How much of the movie is based on actual historical facts? Or should I say how much of it is thwarted by Hollywood’s creative license? Depending on which angle you are looking at, the purists might find Mann’s treatment too much to bear given many occurrences and dates have been drastically altered to suit the filmmakers’ needs. From an audience’s point of view, "Public Enemies" remains an engaging crime thriller on the whole though the few shootouts and showdown between Dillinger and Purvis lacked the intensity of De Niro and Pacino in "Heat".

For a movie that is set during the great depression, Mann’s choice of shooting the movie in HD format rather than traditional 35mm film is questionable. "Public Enemies" is the perfect film noir material however with HD, it took away the cinematic magic and certain scenes stood out remarkably as studio backlots and plain set dressing. HD works perfectly in Mann’s "Collateral" and "Miami Vice" but it’s just wrong here.

"Public Enemies" has its obvious share of flaws, one with glaring mistreatment of the actual characters and story development to a point that it sacrificed its believability. At the end of the day Mann compensate by giving us a worthy treat, one with impressive gunfights (unfortunately few and far) compiled with fine acting from the cast.


This Code 3 DVD only contains Feature Commentary with Director Michael Mann. Mann is not exactly an enthusiastic speaker though he did provides insight on the research done prior to shooting and information on the various figures featured in the movie. Expect a certain amount of dead air in-between.


As mentioned in the DVD review, the period look of 1930’s America seems slightly out of place with the HD treatment despite fine details and colouring. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is strong with occasional outbursts from Tommy guns and shattering glass effects. Overall, dialogue is clean and "Public Enemies" is surprisingly not a 'loud' movie as perceived.  



Review by Linus Tee

Posted on 18 December 2009


. Public Enemies (Movie Review)

. Public Enemies (Soundtrack Review)

Other titles from HVN Berjaya:

. Land of the Lost

. State of Play

. Fast & Furious

. Madagascar Escape 2 Africa

. Wild Child

. Eagle Eye

. The Ruins

. Forgetting Sarah Marshall

. Death Race

. Mamma Mia! The Movie

. Stop-Loss

. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

. Wanted

. The Incredible Hulk

. Iron Man

. Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins

. Drillbit Taylor

. Leatherheads

. The Bourne Ultimatum

. Shrek The Third

. Knocked Up

. Evan Almighty

. I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry

. Transformers

. Blades of Glory

. Disturbia

. Shooter

. Freedom Writers

. Hot Fuzz

. Charlotte's Web

. The Good Shepherd

. Dreamgirls

. Smokin Aces

. Catch A Fire

. Man Of The Year

. Napoleon Dynamite

. Flushed Away

. Coach Carter

. Children Of Men

. Barnyard

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. Accepted

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. Stay Alive

. Miami Vice

. United 93

. You, Me and Dupree

. M:I:3

. Over The Hedge

. The Break-Up

. Curious George

. American Dreamz

. Bring It On All Or Nothing

. Aeon Flux

. Inside Man

. Elizabethtown

. Spongebob Squarepants Movie

. Four Brothers

. War Of The Worlds

. Munich

. Two for the Money

. King Kong

. American Pie: Band Camp

. Surviving Christmas

. Perfect Man, The

. Madagascar


This review is made possible with the kind support from HVN Berjaya


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