The one summer film that has Best Picture possibilities is a few short weeks away from release. Michael Mann’s Public Enemies has been seen by a few critics and despite the review embargo some early word is out.
Lou Lumenick from The New York Post provides the film’s first major pan. He says of the film:
For all its considerable visual flair and painstaking recreation of the early ’30s Midwest, for me this was overall a curiously uninvolving gangster movie. Between an underwritten script and essentially flat performances, we never really get to know the characters, or care much about them. John Dillinger is played by one of my favorite actors, two-time Oscar nominee Johnny Depp who is hugely charismatic in fantasy roles but seems smaller than life playing a real person (and why is he wearing that distacting black eyeliner anyway?) Not much more interesting are Dillinger’s FBI pursuer Melvin Purvis (a bland Christian Bale in Dick Tracy mode) and Dillinger’s weepy, half-French, half-Native American moll.
Enemies is Mann’s best film since The Insider.
The ‘txt critic’ from The Film Experience agrees with Lumenick that the film lacks character development:
I wasn’t “bored,” and it’s not a complete and utter failure, but it’s probably the least interesting movie Michael Mann’s ever made. There is zero character definition. No one has an arc of any sort — we learn NOTHING about any of the three central characters — and the “action” isn’t particularly compelling, at least not enough to compensate for the complete dearth of emotion or thematic complexity.
That’s two against, one (kind of) for. Doesn’t sound good for Mann’s film. We’ll all find out for sure when the film gets its wide release on July 1st.