***Disclaimer: I am not a film student. I am not a critic or anybody with any real knowledge of the film industry. I have friends who make movies and produce plays. I have friends who have IMDB credits, and my ex wrote screenplays, so take any of this with a grain of salt.***
If I like a film, I usually come home, mention I liked it and promptly forget all about it, but if I love a movie, I come home and analyze lines or camera angles. It becomes a brief obsession, and Public Enemies is now officially on that level. I shouldn't have even liked this film due to the historical inaccuracies. I am a history major, and films with their own time lines for entertainment purposes usually just annoy me. This is the same reason why I could not enjoy Titanic when it first came out. Too many people died for it to be entertainment (I am now off my soap box and can watch it). Don't go to this one and expect a history lesson. Wikipedia is more accurate than this. Maybe it was the documentary feel that came from the hand held camera. Maybe it was the unexpected impact of the love story. Maybe it was the beautiful clothes and amazing soundtrack, but I inhaled in the first scene and didn't exhale until the closing credits. Johnny Depp proves once again why he is the greatest actor of my generation. He captured, of course, the sexy/cool charm that made Dillinger an icon, but he goes deeper and keeps him from becoming a caricature. His subtle movements convey more than any single line of dialogue. Christian Bale? Once again, he has a solid performance. Handsome man who can quietly command a scene. He glowers and looks anguished here, and then he goes over and glowers and looks anguished there. Christian Bale is a solid dramatic performer, but even as a fan, sometimes I miss the lightness of young Laurie in Little Women. Okay, I get it, you have dark and brooding down. You are a dramatic actor and you are good at it, but one day, just for fun, lighten up a bit. Batman, Terminator, and now Purvis, Bale proves he can glower and brood with the best of them; however, with that said, I do like how the film foreshadows the tensions between the glory hound Hoover and Purvis. Even though the character is never fleshed out,which isn't Bale's fault, it does show he is a man tormented. Purvis, as a man, was an enigma, so that may explain why we never really know why Dillinger was his personal white whale.
I also purchased the soundtrack, and the score is beautiful, but come on, this is a Michale Mann film, and he is known for the music he chooses. The score is haunting, rich, and complex. I listened to "JD Dies" so many times last night, I felt the strings were carrying me away. Even though all the songs are amazing(Billy Holliday, yeah,yeah), "Ten Million Slaves" truly sets the tone for the entire film. Enjoy.