PLANET GRIFFIN takes in a late show at the movies! Our feature presentation: Depp, Bale, and Mann with the opening night of PUBLIC ENEMIES! Now, if anyone out there keeps up with gangland lore, then you know how the story ends already--- John Dillinger is shot to death outside a Chicago cinema and Melvin Purvis, Hoover's top FBI man assigned to capturing Dillinger, killed himself in 1960--- the trick of the film is how the two characters get there in the first place--- Unfortunately, its a trick with little payoff.
Like HEAT, you can watch this film and easily see it as a precursor to the DeNiro/Pacino classic, as the gun battles rage (there is a 14 min. shootout in the openings of the film), the face off between Dillinger and Purvis isn't that much different from the Pachino-DeNiro exchange in the diner , and even has room for a hearty romance or two. (Which has tragic consequences in the end, but you already know this). What's really ironic about all of this is that certain elements from the life and times of Dillinger and Purvis served as inspiration for HEAT anyway. With this movie, the history of the bank heist feels like its come full circle here. Of course, you may walk away feeling like the banks are not the only things that got robbed.
Don't get me wrong, as a moment in history, it stands for what it is, but at the same time, it also left me feeling like something was missing--- Besides the theater audience. Depp plays the role of John Dillinger to the hilt, but knowing that, you can easily see where the performers around him fall flat or seem indifferent--- ESPECIALLY Christian Bale's performance of Lawman Melvin Purvis, who literally seems distracted in this film (he was still thinking about the grosses on TERMINATOR probably).
The Gangland cast has its moments, like the glimpses of mad genius Baby Face Nelson (trust me, never before will you see a man so willing to 'get his gun off'), the all too brief appearance of Pretty Boy Floyd (blam), the waning decline of ganglord Frank Nitti, and the FBI in it's earliest stages on inception (phone-tapping and recording in 1933 was done on phonograph records. ). No spoilers here, folks.
As a review, there's not much else to talk about with this one. It's a decent film, but save your cash until the release of the DVD (on Redbox no less), or simply watch HEAT again and enjoy the show.
sigh... Back to work