John Dillinger’s reign as America’s most-wanted bank robber (or one of them) only spanned 10 months — from the fall of 1933, when he pulled his first such heist, to the summer of 1934, when federal agents shot him down in front of Chicago’s Biograph Theater. Still, Dillinger has proved to be a durable celebrity desperado. Along with such fellow bank-job specialists as Clyde Barrow, Pretty Boy Floyd and Baby Face Nelson (all of whom came to a bloody end the same year Dillinger did), he continues to embody the “public enemy” years of the Great Depression, when heartland gangsters became figures of public fascination by smiting the hated banks and repeatedly eluding the little-loved coppers who pursued them.
Dillinger’s brief career has been the subject of several films. The latest is director Michael Mann’s “Public Enemies,” a beautifully made picture that sets out to portray the famed outlaw as both a hard-bitten criminal and a passionate romantic, and is undone in the attempt. Johnny Depp brings effortless star power to the role of Dillinger, and he’s a charmer in the scenes in which his character is pursuing an on-the-run, soul-mate love affair with a Chicago coat-check girl named Billie Frechette (the superb Marion Cotillard).[…]
Read the review in full on MTV:
‘Public Enemies’: Bullet Time, By Kurt Loder
Johnny Depp brings John Dillinger back, but not entirely alive.