Public Enemies has received mixed reviews from critics, and we can understand why.
One's reaction to the movie may have a lot to do with what one expects from it: an original, exciting tale; or a retelling of history.
The film is largely based on director Michael Mann and writers Ronan Bennett and Ann Biderman's adaption the John Dillinger portion of Bryan Burrough's 2004 book, Public Enemies. It even uses the same locations where famous breakouts and shootouts occurred.
Due to its meticulous reflection of real-life events, the movie drags on at times. After all, John Dillnger lived a thrilled life as a whole, but not every single day or week.
Therefore, the film moves slowly, sprinkling in the occasional cool, action sequence. If you're looking for explostions and chases, go see Transformers.
While we were a bit frustrated at times due to this pace, Mann has still crafted a technically solid, visually scintillating crime drama. It certainly helps that it's anchor by a pair of low-key, albeit captivating, performances by Johnny Depp and Christian Bale.
In the end, as you might expect, the movie is solely about them. It's impossble to imagine anyone else playing Dillinger, as Depp can take an underwritten role and make it mesmerizing by the sheer force of his presence.
Don't go in expecting fireworks and you ought to leave satisfied with Public Enemies.