Movie Review: Public Enemies

The movie about John Dillinger, the famous bank robber and most notorious and wanted criminal in the 1930-ies features Johnny Depp as the lead. Ebert gave this a surprisingly positive review. I did not concur. Maybe it is because I really didn’t know much about Dillinger and didn’t care, either. Maybe I could not sympathize with any of the characters. I was bored from the very beginning, and I clung to the acting job of Depp and the cinematography to keep me going.

I was fascinated about how good an actor Depp is. Having just watched Benny and Joon not too long ago, I cannot imagine more opposite roles for one actor. In Benny and Joon, he plays this gentle yet complex infantile charmer, in Public Enemies he plays a brutal bank robber.

I was also fascinated about life in the 1930-ies. No cell phones. No computers. No television. Movies, radio and telephones had just emerged. There were machine guns, but they tended to jam a lot. And there were cars. It was the early days of the FBI, which plays a role in this movie.

It was difficult for me to follow the story line. I kept wondering what was going on, and I kept finding that I really didn’t care much. Never did I get absorbed in the story. I was always aware that I was watching a movie, analyzing it. I didn’t pause before getting another cookie from the kitchen. I didn’t care.

Rating: *

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