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Public Enemies

America’s Most Wanted 

Year: 2009 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Michael Mann 
Starring: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, Billy Crudup  
An image from Public Enemies

John Dillinger (Johnny Depp) is Public Enemy Number One, and is running rings around J. Edgar Hoover’s fledgling FBI. Melvin Purvis (Bale) is a talented and committed agent, dedicated to bringing down all of the 'public enemies'. Dillinger and his gang, freshly broken out of prison, manage to stay one step ahead of Purvis and his agents. Robbing banks and narrowly escaping capture, Dillinger meets Billie Frechette, (Marion Cotillard), who becomes his lover. Slowly but surely, Purvis and his men draw Dillinger into a trap from which he cannot escape…

To most ordinary Americans during the Great Depression, John Dillinger was far from a public enemy – he was a national hero. He robbed from the rich, and although he never got around to giving the money to the poor, he was still seen as someone standing up for himself against an ailing and unpopular government. Depp is superbly charismatic as Dillinger, a man renowned for his movie-star good looks (suitable casting…), and even though Bale isn’t given much to work with, he is convincing as the driven and determined Purvis. Both actors, however, are nearly sidelined by the beautiful and accurate re-creation of 1930s America, from the sparse Dustbowl regions to neon-lit Chicago. There’s no shortage of trenchcoats, Tommy guns and dames in red dresses, and the visual style is perfect.

Marcus Kelly

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Screenings of this film:

2009/2010 Autumn Term (35mm)
2009/2010 Autumn Term (35mm)