I saw Public Enemies today. The movie, about real-life 1930s era bank robber and public fascination John Dillinger, stars Johnny Depp.
For me, the review really should stop right there. It just gets worse from that point in.
Much of the movie manages to hold its own. The look is fantastic including both the camera work and the era details. Everything just evokes the 1930s seemingly without effort. Then there’s the acting. No one does a bad job and that’s no small undertaking as there seems to be no less than six major stars involved along with what feels like 100 or more total roles.
The problem is that the story is both highly inaccurate and, frankly, lacking in key details and boring in long stretches. Many elements of Dillinger’s life story were altered for no positive reason I can think of. He’s included in events that he never took part in. Major players die before he does even though they outlived him. Key plot elements are glossed over or entirely ignored.
In the end I could not help but compare this with the 1973 movie, Dillinger, starring Warren Oates. This older film presented the story far more convincingly without the need for all the shenanigans. Dillinger’s life story is entertaining enough on its own merits without the need for re-writes.