Oline H. Cogdill

Depp in Public Enemies; Courtesy Universal

A few years ago my husband I stopped going to the movies. It wasn’t that we disliked movies. Just the opposite, in fact. We both love movies and often quote some of the finest films in certain situations. Films like Animal House, Sunset Boulevard, any James Bond flick, What’s Up, Doc, and myriad other classics. It’s just that live theater took a priority in our lives. The last film we saw was Every Little Step, which was about the casting of A Chorus Line. Now we go for special films, or to join one of our godchildren. But one upcoming film has got my attention and I am really looking forward to venturing to the local movieplex. Public Enemies, starring Johnny Depp as John Dillinger, is set to open July 1 across the country. Directed by Michael Mann, the previews to Public Enemies look terrific. Here, see for yourself. Briefly, Public Enemies shows how the FBI hunted notorious American gangsters John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd during a booming crime wave in the 1930s. It also stars Christian Bale as FBI agent Melvin Purvis, Stephen Graham as Baby Face Nelson and Channing Tatum as Pretty Boy Floyd. Billy Crudup as J. Edgar Hoover is certainly an interesting choice. From the previews I’ve seen, Depp should carry this film. Ever since 21 Jump Street, Depp has proven himself to be a real actor who immerses himself into each role. Watch him in Ed Wood as he becomes this mediocre filmmaker who’s naïve, totally unaware of his own limitations and yet so in love with the movies. He embodies everyone who truly is passionate about something yet lacks talent. Or take Sweeney Todd, a totally different approach from the Stephen Sondheim theatrical musical. Yet onscreen, Sweeney Todd works because Depp understands the source material.

This article was originally published on the Mystery Scene Blog, June 2009.