I used to be a fan of the political hip-hop group Public Enemy, so when I first received word that there was a film titled Public Enemies, my initial reaction was one of befuddlement: Chuck D and Flavor Flav turned to acting? But alas, that skepticism was met with greater delight when I learned that Michael Mann would be helming the picture and he would have some great actors in Johnny Depp and Christian Bale to help bring his story to life. Mann has long been one of my favorite Directors, leading such enjoyable films as Heat and Collateral, among several others. He is a veteran of the crime/action genre, so who better to bring the story of notorious gangster John Dillinger to the big screen?
To tell a bit about what the film will be based on, “PE” is set in the depression-era of the 1930′s (how apropos that America has been in a depression of sorts over the past year or two as well), Dillinger (Depp) and his crew have been doing what they do best, robbing from the rich (banks) and giving to the poor (kind of, depending on how the tale goes), in a manner that might make Robin Ghetto (that’s “Hood” to you) proud. Dillinger was lauded by the public, since they hated the banks for the depression, and known for busting out of jails with greater ease than Jebediah from Out of Sight. Bale (yeah, The Dark Knight and the just released Terminator: Salvation star), will play real-life federal agent Melvin Purvis who was the man obsessed with capturing the elusive Dillinger. A cast that includes Billy Crudup (Almost Famous, Watchmen), Channing Tatum, and Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard bring heat to the film in a way few summer blockbusters can claim. This will be a game of cat and mouse with Dillinger trying to stay a step ahead of Purvis the entire way.
Some intrigue remains as to how well this film will do in the box office given a.) the current state of our economy and the types of films people are paying money to see (typically escapist) and b.) whether or not Bale will receive any public backlash from his outburst on the set of T4, which I wouldn’t think is likely to affect this film, but you never know. On the flip side, Depp is among the most singularly popular actors working today, so odds of it blowing up (that’s slang for “doing well”) are in its favor.
Early stills and the trailers look fabulous, so count me among those who are revved up for this one as it’s been a summer of slow starts in terms of quality films thus far for me. This will only be Mann’s 8th film in the last two decades, so expect quality to win out over quantity almost every time. I always anticipate Mann’s movies (though his Miami Vice disappointed) and I am sure with the great attention to detail that both he and the lead actors are known for, we should be in for one hell of a fun ride. This will be looting your box office funds come July 1st.