Sound Off: Public Enemies - What Did You Think?

July 1, 2009

Public Enemies

Now that you've seen it, what did you think? Hitting theaters today is Michael Mann's very highly anticipated 1930's gangster movie Public Enemies about real life bank robber John Dillinger. Its got one hell of a cast - Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard - but are they more than just familiar faces? It seems like it could be as good as The Untouchables, but does it ever reach those heights? Does Mann's realistic HD camera style work for this story or is it too glossy for a period piece? Did it live up to all of your expectations? Sound off below, leave your thoughts, and let us know what you thought of Public Enemies!

To fuel the fire, I wasn't too fond of Public Enemies. I was really hoping I'd like it, but I didn't, and I'm not sure why. Most of the performances are great, the story is exciting, and there are some truly fantastic tommy gun fights. I hate to say it, but I think Mann's choice to use HD cameras made me feel disconnected from the story. His action cutting was far more confusing than anything from Michael Bay. And the story moved too quickly - we never got any time to learn about John Dillinger or get a closer look at his bank robberies. I'm probably going to forget about this in just a few months, which is a let down for cast and crew this talented.

What did you think of Public Enemies? Great summer action or too glossy for its own good?

Find more posts: Discuss, Hype, Sound Off



i really enjoyed it but i have to agree with everything you said.

joe on Jul 1, 2009


I thought it was a decent movie but I was overall disappointed. I was definitely not a fan of the HD cameras especially in the beginning of the movie. I thought Mann nailed the shootouts and the end perfectly but he completely ignored the supporting characters as well as didn't build Dillinger up to what it is said he was. He was supposed to be an American icon at the time and there was nothing in the movie that made me feel that he was famous or anything. That said, this is definitely not a bad movie, I just think after reading the book there were other ways he could have gone to portray Dillinger and the time period.

Rob on Jul 1, 2009


I went into the cinema thinknig it was going to be sweet, because just look at some of his films over the past few years. It didnt disappoint, I loved the action scenes and the sound of this film was insane but all of Michael Mann's films have great sound. When i watched the trailer for the first time I saw the HD footage and I didnt think I would like it but I belived it worked becasue not many other film makers use it and he has used it before, so i guess we are quite use to it. Although saying that I love gangsta films of any sort so bring on more of them..... But anyone that relates this film to Michael Bay is a douche bag, because if you dont like his films you have no idea what a great action film is and some of the cinematic history he has created.....

Raygun on Jul 1, 2009


The movie is pretty good. They could have focused a little more on building the characters and should have tried to make the audience fall in love with Dillinger the way that the common man in that time did. All the characters felt like they could have been dealt with more or better, but the main performances were very good, the action was intense and overall the movie was pretty entertaining. A definite matinee, but not a bad full price either. P.S. get off Michael Bay's dick. Bay is an extremely mediocre director that ONLY knows how to shoot action and it reflects in the quality of his work. Transformers 2 for example, was very mediocre and almost offended my intelligence. Rent it if you have a big TV.

Shaun on Jul 1, 2009


It was allright. It wasn't Blow but it was good.

Cat on Jul 1, 2009


thought i would let you guys know the new background really slows the site down. especially on my mobile phone, loads up halfway and just stops.

james on Jul 1, 2009


I thought it was a decent movie. I too was not a fan of the HD, but i thought that the performances were great! And the Tommy gun fights kicked ass! Sure, i would've liked to have it be little more thorough when it came to showing how he robbed banks, and his relationships with other criminals, etc. But overall, a very solid movie that I'll most likely see a few more times.

Will on Jul 1, 2009


For a change, I agree with alex 100%. I loathed the cinematography and digital look. I had hoped only the trailer looked like crap...

Matt on Jul 1, 2009


Not going to see it........... #2 LMAO

SHANEDAV on Jul 1, 2009


#2 is right. Bay is a douchebag and the quicker you kiddies (yes, you) realise this, the better.

Movie Fan on Jul 1, 2009


I loved the movie and it really was everything I hoped it would be. I'm glad it wasn't a repeat miss like Miami Vice.

Aaron on Jul 1, 2009


I thought that given all the recent negativity, it was better than expected. While I can see where everyone's coming from regarding character development, I took it as a decent compromise for the Oscar audience and summer action audience. Depp was up to form as usual and I loved the Tommy guns scenes. Great summer relief from the robots of 2009 as long as you don't go expecting a best picture nominee. Good job and will definitely get it on Blu Rau when released.

Brian on Jul 1, 2009



Face/Off on Jul 1, 2009


Too long and too boring. If Mann had focused more on the bank robberies themselves it could have been a great film; the gunfights were indeed awesome, there were just too many boring scenes interspersed between the robberies/gunfights/prison breaks.

billybob on Jul 1, 2009


it was alright, nothing to great. the directing was crap, just like every other movie to come out this year. the cast was awesome, this movie is packed full of great actors. historical in-accuracy's pissed me off beyond belief, they hollywooded the hell out of this one that's pretty much all i thought.

DoomCanoe on Jul 1, 2009


Could not be more wrong, good film and the HD was superb....why can't anyone realize this is the 21st Century and the wave of the future is bloody here!. This report comes from the same individual that thought "Observe and Report was genius and the best movie of the year !!!!!!!!!

Clover on Jul 1, 2009


Luved every second of it. Michael Mann has done an amazing job in bringing the old skool Cagneyesque Gangster movie to a new generation. Awesome cinematography...couldn't wipe a silly grin of my face with those awesome shots were folks are shooting tommy guns and the camera is stuck right up close grasping every glory of brilliance. Scoring was on point. The cast was amazing, and I'll only admit this to familia and the rest of the film buffs here, but I think I was holding back tears at that last scene with the French actress. Yet another awesome summer of movies 🙂

Chidi on Jul 1, 2009


I'll add that this movie for me is up there with HEAT. I just luv how Michael Mann doesn't indulge into making things over sentimental. This is a great movie for anyone who's a fan of Michael Mann movies!

Chidi on Jul 1, 2009



usonnychiba1 on Jul 1, 2009


So Michael Bay has succeeded in destroying people's ability to appreciate good cinema. Michael Mann's new film is not without it's flaws, but in no way should you even begin to say Michael Bay's actions scenes are better. Alex, I cannot believe that you said you actually quite liked TF2 but not this movie. Your credibility is gone. People can have opinions, but TF2 is garbage and people who do not admit it and 100% believe it is great have lost what the meaning of good cinema. People will argue with me because they have been subjected to this shit for so long they cannot appreciate the finer, subtler moments. I feel bad for these people because I'm enjoying Bergman films and learning about the human condition while many others are watching things go BOOOOOOOOMMMMMMM!!!!!

Itri on Jul 1, 2009


I liked it but didn't love it. I wish that they had developed the robin hood theme better and actually showed that there was a depression. It seemed like business as usual rather than pervasive poverty. The shoot out in Wisconsin was terrible. There was no sense of where anyone was and how the gun fight progressed. I am thankful though that it wasn't just a crazy action movie.

Pete on Jul 1, 2009


Disappointing. We as the audience never really get a chance to feel for the characters. There is not much of a plot line to follow along closely. All the characters seem bland and I really didn't even care for Baby Face Nelson insane antics either! Marion Coitlard was fantastic however! The tommy gun fights were good but definitely not great. I thought there was going to be a tommy gun fight that rivals the shoot out scene from Heat - this was none of the sort. Michael Mann could've made the story line A LOT stronger! The characters should've been scrutinized much more - like in Collateral - that was great!

Conrad on Jul 1, 2009


yeah, as you said. not great. had its share of problems for sure. but I enjoyed myself. worth watching for sure

-Peter- on Jul 1, 2009


2.5 hours of Johnny Depp and Marion Cotillard proving once again they are amazing actors, Christian Bale being emotionless and boring, and really no story to follow. 5/10

BrentD on Jul 1, 2009


Christian Bale is an amazing actor.

Scott McHenry on Jul 1, 2009


it wasn't at all historically correct!... doesn't that mean anything to you people? no one died at the Little Bohemia Lodge... In fact it's one of the largest embarrassments in the history of the FBI and had a huge HUGE public impact on Hoover and his organization. Evely Frechette (aka Billie Frechette in the movie) was Dillinger's third girlfriend, Ana Cump?na? the character who should have been a HUGE focus in the movie, seeing as how she was Dillinger's first love (Billie took on a lot of her story for drama) was the one who was given the fur/red coat which she wore to give Dillinger away at the movie theater. She was extremely Jealous of Everly and new girlfriend Polly Hamilton. She was turning in Dillinger over both the avoidance of deportation and her jealousy. they killed off everyone who was known as the "Public Enemies" in a completely made up scene. this movie was about 30% correct. almost every scene jumped years at a time, and not only did they jump periods at a time the scenes they would show would have characters that weren't really there... instead they were replacing the other people who were really there. if you are going to make a biopic about the American Robbin Hood at least tell his story correct. are you people going to be happy if Amelia dosn't crash and burn? hell no your not

DoomCanoe on Jul 1, 2009


I too wanted to like this film. I didn't hate it but there was something missing for sure. It might have been the HD cameras. It looked to clean I guess. It's a really long film since the story is so short. Two jail breaks, two bank robberies and a gun fight. I don't know, I thought it would more interesting. I think a story of Baby Face Nelson would be better. He was psycho in this and easily the most interesting character. I liked the realism of it and the acting was top notch. It was nice to see Bale acting and not growling. There was just something off. I liked it but wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

Moviegimp on Jul 2, 2009


What I liked: Creative camera shots, story, acting. What I didn't like: Sounds was fucked, I'm not sure if it was the theater or the movie. But during the dialog it would get real quiet, then boom loud again. And not loud from switching to a different scene but loud from Hey my NAME IS. So it was jolting. Thought it was way to long, and the ending couldn't have been any more anti-climatic.

teh staton on Jul 2, 2009


i really liked that movie the acting was good but i was really hoping that mr.depp would kill that guy that slapped his girl but i still enjoyed it either way and i dnt no if i like this more then transformers but i have 2 say terminator salvation was way better

quez on Jul 2, 2009


Gives HD a bad name.

Mat on Jul 2, 2009


#28: I also thought that it was the theater i went to see the film that was causing those sound problems, but my friend that saw it in another AMC theater faced the same issue. I think it was the films sound production, not the theater itself.Maybe it was intentional? Just like how Michael Mann intentionally ruined what seemed to be a very great flick. Seriously, i think i enjoyed Terminator Salvation more than this flick, yea i said it. The acting was not even that great, the cinematography in many scenes either didnt fit or were bad choices. And the transition to scenes, many times felt awkward. #26: If they followed what you just stated, the story could have been that much better. I really care much about his girlfriend Billie nor did i have any sympathy on Depps character. I really wanted to connect with this film, but i just couldnt. At least the shoot outs were graphic in a sense. The scene after the Lodge where ___ gets ___ was pretty graphic and i enjoyed that.

Nikhil Hariharan on Jul 2, 2009


i'm going tonite... after all the comments, i'm a little scared of this being a so so movie. My expectations were very high because of the trailer... damn... I will write something tomorrow and i will tell you people what is the awful truth!!!

Leiner on Jul 3, 2009


ok retards, HD does not and cannot really look better than film. For all of you who are saying that it looks "too polished" you must be blind or just ignorant. HD video contains roughly 2 million pixels (1080x1920) film contains roughly 12 million. this movie looked like some piece of crap documentary. I dont care if hd is coming into use more, it does not make any logical sense to try to use hd cameras on a period piece. Why use technology that was created half a century later than the movie takes place in. you might as well stick some 80's synth soundtrack to this movie because thats just about how appropriate the choice for using "high def" video was

Sully on Jul 4, 2009


I just saw it and I was amazed! Great film, Mann is the man! I love the HD camera work from Collateral, Miami Vice and of course Public enemies. It makes you fell you are there and all is so Real.

var2apo on Jul 5, 2009


At first, I was moved by the vast landscape of sky: prison break, chiseled chins, and all that grey stone and canvas. But as the picture progressed, It irked me that the historical inaccuracies of the film were so evident. The "lady in red" whom is famous for turning Dillinger in was literally changed to another color scheme. And did anyone else get that hit of "revisiting" The Last of the Mohicans? Depp's Dillinger and Lewis's Mohican both implore their loves that "I'll be back>...I'll get to you somehow...." Such strong men saving such weak women! Other than that--it's pretty! It's well acted! The popcorn was good, but leave the butter to history--just the fact's Mann, just the facts.

Toddbaron on Jul 5, 2009


Well im glad that Mann's choice worked for someone. It really just distracted me from the whole movie. During those close ups and intimate scenes i wasn't thinking about the characters anymore than i was just scratching my head at the fact that Mann shot it in HD. It could have been so much better. I think it actually did the opposite of what Mann wanted it to do because everyone i know who saw felt taken out of the film because it was shot in HD and thought it was produced and directed poorly

Sully on Jul 5, 2009


Well im glad that Mann's choice worked for someone. It really just distracted me from the whole movie. During those close ups and intimate scenes i wasn't thinking about the characters anymore than i was just scratching my head at the fact that Mann shot it in HD. It could have been so much better. I think it actually did the opposite of what Mann wanted it to do because everyone i know who saw felt taken out of the film because it was shot in HD and thought it was produced and directed poorly

Sully on Jul 5, 2009


I have done historic research on John Dillinger for over a month now and it was by far one of the most historically accurate movies I have ever seen. I am glad the director did not feel the need to add drama to an already incredible story. Look people, it was about history, not about massive explosive entertainment. Sorry if your brains can't wrap around that, maybe you need to learn to appreciate a story. Curb your ADD of constant explosions and craziness and sit down to watch it.

Scarlet5 on Jul 6, 2009


dude all yall crazy!!! movie was badass!!! Mann the best director by far, its realism

Jonah on Jul 6, 2009


Todd, #36, you're a moron. The so-called "lady in red" actually wore an orange skirt that appeared red under the theater lights. If you're going to bitch about historical accuracy, get your own house in order first.

Moonchild on Jul 6, 2009


interestingly enough, you're right. But that was one of only MANY problems. And why get all pissy about it? Pervis never shot anyone by the by, according to public record, and Dillinger was married twice. The whole "love thing" was really a hollywood construct.

Toddbaron on Jul 6, 2009


ps: maintain some polite dis-harmony, pls.

Toddbaron on Jul 6, 2009


The music to this film is misplaced Historically speaking the Billie Holliday recordings didn't take place until the 40's This irked me a little It was entertaining aside from that.

taceta on Jul 8, 2009


This was the WORST movie I have seen in the theater, since the Thin Red Line. The camera work was shoddy, the sound editing was horrible, the characters are bland and uninteresting; zero development, there was no drama as I could care less who lived or died. There were so many rushed/unexplained parts in this story, it felt like a made-for-TV movie. I could give two shits about historical accuracy. If it was accurate, then at least it would have an excuse why it was so boring. I could go on and on, but this is seriously one of the biggest messes I have seen.

L on Jul 12, 2009


The sound in the movie is a disaster. We watched this in an Odeon cinema, and complained to the staff in the first five minutes that something was wrong with the sound. We thought that the sound settings it the theatre were not right since the sound did not seem to match the scene. For example - a character would seem to be speaking loudly but instead the sound would be muted, and the background noise much too amplified. It was completely irritating. After 15 minutes the sound did not improve (we thought the staff would have 'fixed' it), and we simply left. The theatre gave us a full refund for our tickets - another couple had also walked out complaining of the sound. Now I see from other comments that this seems to be the film's fault. This is the first time I walked out of a cinema in a movie theatre! I love film, I studied it at university and I have watched thousands. This is the first film I found rather irritating: the bad sound, plus the camera work did not seem to match the story or the period and irritatingly even in the first fifteen minutes the music did not match the period either.

Birmingham1980 on Jul 12, 2009



crazy beautiful... on Jul 22, 2009


Don't bother watching this movie. The sound issues made it completely incomprehensable.  My wife and I had to turn it off because we got so tired of turning the volume up for the dialogue to be audible and then turning it back down every 2 minutes during a gunfight.  I expected much more from this movie. Worst post production award goes to Public Enemies.

Don't Waste Your Time on Oct 25, 2011

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