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Drama - Gangland

Public Enemies (2009)

Duration2h 20m
RatingsUK: 15, USA: R, Spain: 12, The is only an implcation of sex taking place, and one shot of 
Source of storyA book “Public Enemies:…” by Bryan Burrough
DirectorMichael Mann
Writers/ScriptRonan Bennett, Michael Mann, Ann Biderman 
StarringChristian Bale, Johnny Depp, Stephen Graham, Stephen Dorff, Giovanni Ribisi, Channing Tatum, Billy Crudup, Marion Cotillard, John Ortiz, Carey Mulligan, 
RatingsIMDb: 7.0 by 279,574 people. Rotten Tomatoes: 68% by 278 reviewers.

Elevator Pitch: In the depression years the FBI is formed to take on the criminal gangs who are robbing banks around America more or less unhindered, since they have the fire power in the Thompson sub-machine gun, and speedy get away cars. In addition due to limited forensic capabilities no-one is quite sure what they look like, or where they may be. Edgar Hoover puts Melvin Purvis, an agent who has had some success, in charge of the hunt for John Dillinger and over time the two get closer. Dillinger is supremely confident, a trait which will result in his downfall.

Content: There is some implication of sex, and one view of Billie’s naked leg, quite a bit of smoking and some drinking, although it was set during prohibition. Melvin Purvis shows himself to be a crack shot when he shoots Pretty Boy Floyd with a rifle. John Dillinger engineers a prison break to get most of his gang out. A number of violent bank raids take place some requiring the robbers to take on the police, and eventually requiring Purvis to request more professional agents capable of returning fire. There is a bit or romancing between Billie and Johnny and when she is captured by the FBI some violence to get her to talk.

A View:  The critics quite liked this, and why not, it rolls along and we almost side with John Dillinger, who was a bit of a folk hero. I had difficulty telling who was who, everyone seemed to be wearing trilby hats pulled down over their eyes and wielding their Thompsons, the FBI and the villains the same. It would not be too much of a spoiler to say that during the climax, a shoot-out in the dark at a mountain lodge, I had no idea what was going on. But that said, probably a watch for nothing, particularly if you like 1930s gangland stuff.

Additional Info: There is a scene when Dillinger walks into the bureau office in a Chicago police station and has a look round. It is claimed that this actually happened. 

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels

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