'Public Enemies': Gangster caught between love, money

Friday, July 3, 2009
Johnny Depp stars as legendary Depression-era outlaw John Dillinger in a scene from "Public Enemies." (Peter Mountain ~Universal Pictures)

"Public Enemies," which seemed like a hard-core gangster movie, turned out to be a sensational love story.

Bank robber John Dillinger is portrayed as a relentless man by Johnny Depp. The movie takes a turn toward romance when he engages in a love affair with a coat clerk named Billie Frechette, played by Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard.

The romance in the movie is sensational as the couple strives to be together despite Dillinger's rough lifestyle. Dillinger's love for Frechette labels him somewhat of a gentleman bandit caught up between love and money.

Johnny Depp stars with other well-known actors such as Christian Bale (who plays FBI agent Melvin Puvis) and Chandler Williams (who plays FBI agent Clyde Tolson).

With almost no leads, the feds try to track down Dillinger, but he maneuvers around Chicago in different hideouts, being certain to keep a low profile.

The feds take risks in trying to find Dillinger, leading to the death of many federal officials. Dillinger was designated as public enemy No. 1. His own arrogance and flamboyant behavior -- like buying expensive coats -- cause him to be denied help from any other crook.

Many times he comes face to face with the feds and still goes unrecognized.

The movie couldn't have been written any better. The whole concept of the movie revised history and showed the audience the war between police and crime in the 1930s. Dillinger made a mockery of the FBI and managed to escape every time he was captured.

The climax of the picture comes when the police and the gangsters engage in a gunfight in the woods close to a hideaway of Dillinger. He is shot in the arm, but as usual he gets away, though he loses friends in the gunbattle.

The setting, which was mostly at night, was vivid in high definition. All the roles in the movie are played to a perfection. This movie shows a crucial time in history and will not soon be forgotten.

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