Public Enemies Pretty, if Rote

Mann's film is visually luscious, but some find it rote
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 1, 2009 2:39 AM CDT

(Newser) – Critics mostly like Public Enemies, Michael Mann’s lusciously shot—if not terribly deep—ode to ‘30s gangster life with Johnny Depp as bank robber John Dillinger.

  • The film is a "beautiful work of art," declares Manohla Dargis for the New York Times, "a vividly realistic portrait of a country deep in depression and jumping with bad men, which looks and plays like no other American gangster film."

  • Likewise, David Denby finds Enemies to be "a ravishing dream of violent gangster life in the thirties," though "emotionally neutered," he writes for the New Yorker.
  • But Keith Phipps of the Onion AV Club finds it rote: "Depp goes about the business of not getting caught; Bale goes about the business of catching him. Mann reduces a legendary game of cat-and-mouse to a standard police procedural."