Public Enemies

Bomb Rating: 

Can't get a bank loan? Try the John Dillinger method. Carry a gun and know how to use it. The Thompson machine gun: don't leave home without it.

John Dillinger was very good at what he did. He robbed banks with great professionalism. The depression era public of the 1930's loved him for it. He was the Jesse James of his day. He and his gang could clean out a bank in less than two minutes. The next time you are standing in the bank line just think about that. If you had a Thompson sub-machine gun, do you think maybe the bozo at the teller window would have filled out his deposit slip beforehand?

Bonnie and Clyde were rank amateurs compared to the cool and calculating Dillinger. They had no idea what they were doing. They were more like Bonnie and Clod. It's a miracle those two hillbilly retards didn't shoot each other instead of the people who were trying to stop them.

The movie "Public Enemies" does let you know about the true nature of Dillinger and his abilities. The problem is that Director Michael Mann does a bad job of developing the other characters in the movie. For comparison, check out the movie "Bonnie and Clyde" (1967). It is considered by many to be one of the classic gangster movies, right up there with the Godfather flicks. What does "Public Enemies" lack that these classics have in spades? Oh, just a little thing called character development. Mr. Mann have you ever heard of this? Because it's kind of important when it comes to making movies that the audience will actually connect with. Almost all the characters come off as two dimensional soulless gunslingers.

Not that this flick is a total waste of time. Even Michael Mann can't make a movie about Dillinger that is completely boring.

You also have to give the makers of this atmospheric and rather flashy gangster pic credit for having good timing. We are living in an age where people have to put up a ridiculous amount of money to get a loan. The banks seem to be holding onto the cash the feds gave them tighter than a right wing talk show host with his last bottle of hillbilly heroin. Almost everyone hates the banks and the bankers. This is the perfect time to release a movie about one of the best bank robbers of all time.

Joking aside, the Dillinger gang was deadly. They did kill about a dozen people. This movie will make you think it was more like 10 dozen. Bullets are sprayed all over the place. It's called the Thompson machine gun Mr Mann, not the Thompson water hose. The ultra-violence was no doubt put in to sell theater tickets. With torture porn, like the Saw movies doing so well, apparently Hollywood thinks they have to keep up with the psycho carnage Joneses. Just telling the incredible true story of Dillinger and his gang was not enough. This flick is as subtle as a knee in the groin. In fact you may want to pound your dick with a ball peen hammer after seeing it. And by dick I mean that part of your anatomy, not dick as in police detective.

As a subplot, we are also shown some of the slick political moves of the man who squeezed Congress for money to fund his FBI. This movie will have you believe that FBI director J. Edgar Hoover used the fear of and fame of Dillinger to build his nationwide police force. Apparently there were no Islamo-fascists around at the time to serve the purpose. Either that or he just couldn't impress the Congressional budget committee in that cute little cocktail dress with the black pumps.

Seeing this flick will leave you dazed and cold. Just like mob bag man Toothpick Charlie, who is presently sleeping with the fishes.

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Yay, a new review!

HS's picture

Unfortunately, it's not a very good one....



Johnny Depp is good in "Public Enemies"

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

But the other characters are so underdeveloped it really is a frustrating film.  It could have been one of the great gangster movies.  Instead it's a near miss with some good atmosphere and one of the most interesting real gangsters of all time:  part gunslinger and part PR man, John Dillinger.

{;-) Dan in Miami

PS:  The low budget "Dillinger" (1973) is actually more fun than this brutal version of gangster reality and gangster myth making.  Plus the older version has a killer cast with Warren Oates, Ben Johnson, Harry Dean Stanton, Richard Dreyfuss, and
Cloris Leachman.

PPS:  The Dillinger Conspiracy (2006), a documentary from the Discovery Channel, does a good job of debunking some of the myths that grew up around Dillinger after he was gunned down by the FBI.  Or was he?


Another myth debunked

Coaster's picture

We've been to the Smithsonian.  There was no cock room.

US gun owners support sensible gun control

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

Conservative pollster Frank Luntz polled gun owners and found out they are more sensible than the leadership of the NRA.

In his survey of 832 gun owners, including 401 NRA members, Luntz found that 82 percent of NRA members supported "prohibiting people on the terrorist watch lists from purchasing guns." Sixty-nine percent favored "requiring all gun sellers at gun shows to conduct criminal background checks of the people buying guns," and 78 percent backed "requiring gun owners to alert police if their guns are lost or stolen." Among gun owners who did not belong to the NRA, the numbers were even higher.

It's true that these gun owners, including NRA members, don't buy broader forms of gun control. For example, 59 percent of NRA members opposed "requiring every gun owner to register each gun he or she owns as part of a national gun registry," though I was surprised that 30 percent supported this.

{;-) Dan in Miami

PS:  What this means is that politicians can end their abject fear of the National Rifle Association and pass sensible gun control.


That's all well and good

gamerarocks's picture

but the scary part of those 'numbers' is that 18% of NRA members don't support prohibiting people on terrorist watchlists from purchasing guns.  Not that watchlists are an end all/be all, but still that's awfully close to 1 in 5.  Numbers being what they are outside the NRA, that probably boils down to 1 out of 10 or so across the board I'd guess.  A new game to play in the supermarket checkout lanes, the 2nd Amendment version of 'Spot the Looney'.

Impeach Jim Gibbons!


Many on terrorist watch lists shouldn't be

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

The abuse of terrorist watch lists is something that Obama should have fixed by now.  Strange that a legal scholar like Obama hasn't done so.

I would like to think that those 18% are aware of this abuse and that's why they don't want to deny guns to people on these (mostly) phony lists.

Gun show sellers should never be exempted from doing background checks on gun buyers.  Convicted felons should not be allowed to buy guns.

It would seem to be common sense to report a stolen gun.  What if that gun is used in a crime?  You would want the police to know you had reported the gun as stolen/missing just to give yourself more of an alibi.

{;-) Dan in Miami


Yes, but watchlists SHOULD be used

gamerarocks's picture

as a method for indicating a deeper background check should a potential purchasers name appear.  I'm sorry, but having background checks done on gun purchases doesn't infringe on anyone's rights.

Perhaps the NRA should make itself useful for a change and morph into the organization that performs the checks and monitors gunownership?

As for reporting stolen guns, if your gun(s) mean so much to your rights, the LEAST you can do is report it stolen.  Cars are reported, and contrary to popular opinion having a car is a priviledge, not a right.  As much as I dislike the option, perhaps irresponsible gunowners who neglect to report a stolen gun(s) should have those rights taken away.....?

Impeach Jim Gibbons!


this movie

Critico's picture


There is no empathy for the characters in Public Enemies

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

After awhile it just becomes a bunch of repetitive bang bang shoot shoot.  Very nihilistic.  You have to wonder if that was what the director was going for.  It isn't very entertaining.

{;-) Dan in Miami

Gomorrah and Public Enemies are both anti-mob movies

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

The first movie strips the glamor from the Mafia by depicting in brutal fashion the lives and deaths of grunt level Mafia foot soldiers.

Public Enemies makes a point of showing how Dillinger and his gang are a loose coalition of criminals who operate by their own rules of conduct.  They flout the conventions of society and organized crime.  The freedom of the outlaw (sort of a criminal anarchist) has been a common theme of American gangster movies since the 1930's.  But Dillinger goes beyond this romanticized desire to do what you want when you want to.  The movie shows that he became a threat to the good business practices of the Mafia.  His flamboyant robberies drew too much public scrutiny.  The federal government started to pay attention.  J. Edgar Hoover schemed to use public fear of the machine gun toting Dillinger gang to fund his FBI.

Dillinger is depicted here as the total outlaw. 

{;-) Dan in Miami

Ingrate Obama keeps Goldman Sachs at arms length

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

From the NY Times:

"Goldman executives and its political action committee have given more than $24 million to federal candidates in the last decade, including nearly $1 million to Mr. Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign."

The article also makes note of the fact that practically everyone in Washington is running away from the highly toxic Goldman faster than a rocket powered roller coaster.  The Obama administration will not even talk to Goldman executives behind closed doors.  What kind of a country is this where a politician will no longer stay bought?  Not even for a cool million dollars.

{;-) Dan in Miami


That does raise the question ...

Coaster's picture

Where can I find this rocket-powered roller coaster?

Shitty, Gritty, New York City

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

Just saw "American Gangster" (2007) with Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington.  This is probably the most negative depiction of New York City I have ever seen in a movie.  After watching this you have to wonder why all the poor people in NYC don't just shoot themselves and get it over with. 

Then again that makes for a good setting for a gangster movie.  If you have nothing to lose, and life means little to you, why not shoot it out whenever you want to?  A perfect setting for violence in a movie.

I give it two bombs.

{;-) Dan in Miami

Some favorite New York City movies."

LaFonda's picture

The Usual Suspects  

Raging Bull

Annie Hall

The Godfather

The Ice Storm


Twelve Angry Men

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