DVD Review: ‘Public Enemies’

public-enemies-boxPublic Enemies, the latest film from director Michael Mann (TVs Miami Vice, Manhunter, Heat, Collateral), hit DVD shelves this week, and if you were a fan of the film in the theater, you’ll want to pick it up on DVD or Blu-Ray. In the film, Johnny Depp plays Depression-era Robin Hood John Dillinger who rose to fame as a notorious bank robber and the F.B.I.’s first public enemy #1.

The film is a loose interpretation of many events such as Dillinger’s empathy for sharecroppers and out on their luck everyday individuals, his famous escape from an Indiana jail, and his eventual demise at Chicago’s Biograph Theater at the hands of F.B.I. agent Melvin Purvis and his band of intrepid G-Men.

Some exciting features on the Blu-Ray and DVD include a documentary about both Dillinger and Purvis who became media adversaries as both rose to both fame and infamy. The second involves a behind-the-scenes featurette with director Michael Mann and how he brought “Public Enemies” to the big screen.

The third feature is a retrospective on John Dillinger and how he became a folk hero “Robin Hood” for Depression era Americans. Another interesting feature takes you on many of the real life locations involving Dillinger and his gang. The final extra on the disc focuses on the technology of both cops and robbers such as the famous Thompson Sub machine gun, and the 1911 .45 caliber automatic pistol, favorites of both individuals.

One of the most notable features of the Blu-Ray especially, is the BD Live feature of “Gangster Movie Challenge” where you can go online via an Internet connection and test your knowledge with other players watching the film. If you’re a fan of Public Enemies, then check out the 1973 film Dillinger starring veteran character actor Warren Oats as Dillinger, and Ben Johnson as Melvin Purvis.

It’s a great film from one of my favorite directors John Milius. Both films would make an excellent stocking stuffer for Dad or a loved one this holiday season.

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