Head to Head – Public Enemies

Welcome to the latest edition of Head to Head, in which our Quickflix critic takes on our readers in a rip-snorting battle to the death! You pick the film, and we pick the fight!

This week, Catherine Harry got out her tommy gun in defence of Michael Mann‘s Public Enemies. For her troubles, she scored a double pass to Alice in Wonderland. You can win free movie tickets too by sending your mini-reviews to us here at Quickflix!


Catherine Harry will argue FOR the film while Quickflix critic Simon Miraudo will argue AGAINST it. Let us know in the comments section below who you agree with. Spare no vitriol! Choose your side! There can only be one winner!

Catherine Harry – 4.5/5

You know a film is good when you’re barracking for the criminals, especially when led by Johnny Depp! This statement is not so much true because he is “cute” but rather because his ability to inhabit a character is so convincing and unlike so many other actors, it just proves his star status. Depp, Christian Bale and Marion Cotillard were joined by just-as-great supporting cast members, including David Wenham, Channing Tatum, Giovanni Ribisi and many more. The story of the gangster ridden 1930’s and America’s early stages of the FBI is one that will always make for a good movie. But this one was really particularly good – with John Dillinger’s “Robin Hood-like” tendencies of robbing from the banks (rich) to give to the poor. The gun battle out in the woods is one of the best I’ve seen and just characteristic of such brilliant movie-making. The cast, script, editing and cinematography all made it tops!

Got to disagree with you on this one Catherine (which I suppose isn’t surprising considering that is the basic essence of this ongoing feature). Michael Mann is less concerned with story and character than he is with showing off the capabilities of HD video recording. Now, if the film looked spectacular, I would be willing to cut him some slack. But Public Enemies is one of the most atrocious looking films of recent memory. Sequences take place in near pitch-black darkness; there isn’t a single shred of geography to the action scenes and not a character worth caring about in the midst of the proceedings. Depp, Bale and Cotillard are capable actors, but not even they can overcome the muddled, aimless and worst of all, boring screenplay. Yawn. I’m already bored just thinking about it again. Read my review for further complaints.

Now it’s over to you! What are your thoughts on Public Enemies? Let us know in the comments section below. If you would like to be featured in the next Head to Head and possibly win some free movie tickets, send your mini-reviews to us here at Quickflix!

5 Responses to “Head to Head – Public Enemies”

  1. Simon, I now firmly believe that if you were a reviewer during the 1940's, you would be decrying Gone With The Wind's use of Technicolour as an inappropriate use of new technology to display a time period that should be in black and white. Public Enemies is a fantastic film from a fantastic director, and on Blu-Ray you can see detail to the nth degree, thanks to Mann's use of HD. And the dark shootouts that I admittedly couldn't follow in cinema opens up to reveal stunning detail and clarity on a superior format.You also lose a lot of respect in my book for giving Year One 3.5/5 over Public Enemies' 2/5. Shame dude, shame. If Year One is worthwhile comedy I'm a human carrot.

  2. What can I tell you? I'm a character!For what its worth, I'm not against HD video. (Love the crispness of both Collateral and Miami Vice). My main problem is in the composition of the action sequences in Public Enemies, which are almost incomprehensible (not helped by the HD video here).Anyway, enough from me. Anyone else like to share their thoughts?

  3. Honestly, I took it as a simple, straight up gangster action thriller and enjoyed it like that.Its no masterpiece and its not crap, perhaps some people were expecting more and that's fair enough, as Michael Mann is usually quite interested in exploring characters more than anything else.But here, I felt that it was action in his mind, first and foremost and well done in that respect.I could rant about the visual style here, but won't.If you're curious, check out my review here. I discuss my view on the cinematography too.http://thefilmlog.blogspot.com/2009/12/public-enemies-2009.html

  4. I tend to agree with Catherine Harry, because even though I find the movie not to be the greatest ever, it is entertaining, it has a bit of suspense and it does star Johnny Depp and Christian Bail who can turn even the worst movie into one worth watching. I'd give it a 4/5.

  5. I actually enjoyed Public Enemies a lot more than what I thought I would. The highlight of the film for me was Marion Cotillard. She was, as usual, amazing in it and did not recieve enough recognition.

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