Michael Mann’s Public Enemies

Posted By yonghow on March 7th, 2009

Johnny Depp is the legendary outlaw John Dillinger in Michael Mann’s latest film Public Enemies, the infamous real life bank robber whose lightning raids made him the number one target of J.Edgar Hoover’s fledging FBI during the Depression Era. Playing his arch nemesis is Christian Bale, the top FBI agent Melvin Purvis, also known as the “Clark Gable of the FBI” for his good looks, with Billy Crudup (Watchmen) and Academy award winning French actress Marion Cotillard rounding up the cast.

The trailer is looking great so far, ( catch the HD version on apple.com/trailers ) enough at least to get me excited all over again after Mann’s previous (and not so fantastic) Miami Vice. Below are some screencaps from the HD trailer.

With its somewhat similar setting and backdrop Public Enemies reminds me of Sam Mendes’s moody “Road To Perdition” (below), one of Paul Newman’s last films. I had intended to write about Perdition and my love for the film’s stunning photography shortly after Newman’s passing, but never got around to it. Go here to read a most insightful article on the film’s cinematography, shot by the late Conrad Hall.

One notable technical difference between the two films is that Michael Mann (and the DP Dante Spinotti ) has opted once again to shoot with the Viper HD camera, (this might be more apparent only on the HD trailer), just like his two previous films Collateral and Miami Vice, with some shots looking distinctively video-like in movement and color.  Perhaps the director’s intention is to instill a more personal, first person experience, allowing the events taking place on the screen to have a sense of spontaneity, rather than the polished, observer feel of 35mm film. That said, I personally still prefer the more romantic feel of good look film.

I’ve been a big fan of director Michael Mann’s films ever since The Insider and Heat, the latter a masterpiece of the crime genre in my opinion. I’ve watched and rewatched the film countless times, especially the electrifying Pacino/DeNiro restaurant scene; and here you have it below – the wonders of YouTube ! Enjoy !

This is but one of the highlights of the show;  if you’ve seen the movie you will no doubt spot the numerous influences Heat had on films of the genre, notably Hong Kong’s Infernal Affairs, and more recently Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight.

Thoughts on Public Enemies/any Michael Mann fans out there ?

You can view the HD trailer of Public Enemies here.

Posted in Film

9 Responses to “Michael Mann’s Public Enemies”


Looks great. In fact, it looks a bit like the sequel to Road to Perdition.


big fan of michale mann.
big fan of heat as well caught it a million times.
i was very impressed with the cast. kilmer, sizemore
and of course natalie portman and ashley judd.
always a great film to study…
“when you feel the heat around the corner…”

if ya into crime thriller films
do check out
“36 quai des orfevres.” by Olivier Marchal.
the french’s own solution to the infernal affairs.

i hate the departed tho…
ironically it was scorcese’s long awaited oscar
which in my opinion he did many other much greater films.

me 2 cents.
: )


that camera you were talking about, i dont really like the way it makes the shots look on film. it keeps making me do double takes, asking myself if i was watching some behind the scenes footage. it jarring and takes a little getting used to. but other than that, i am really looking forward to this film. BTW, you are correct, Heat is awesome.


Parka – I think Public Enemies will be more action orientated than Road to Perdition, but they are alike in many other ways.

pins – Thanks for the recommendation ! Be sure to keep a lookout for that film. For the record, I didn’t like The Departed either. :]

GGear323 – Haha, that bad huh ? Not a big fan of that video look too, but Michael Mann must have chosen it for a reason, guess we will might find out after watching.

Andrew Hake

I am very excited about this one as well. I really like Collateral, never saw Miami Vice, and of course had to love Heat.

Will definitely be heading to the theaters on this one’s release.

Great idea by the way on cataloging films that you have seen each year. I will be doing this in the future.


thanks very much for posting this!


Heat is my most favourite movie all the time. I love Michael Mann’s work!


One of those movies who are worth to go to the cinema and said:”that was money well spent!”..,i watched this movie 5 times.how things have changed instead of people robbing Banks the Banks now rob the people. Great post


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