Blu-ray Disc Review: Public Enemies
Movie •••• Picture ••••½ Sound ••••½ Extras •••½
In Michael Mann's retelling of the John Dillinger legend, this 1930s bank robber (a courtly, commanding Johnny Depp) is a Great American Outlaw caught between two rising forces: organized crime and organized law. The latter takes the form of J. Edgar Hoover's nascent FBI, with poster boy Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale) as his notunwilling hit man. The chronology of events is frequently rearranged to suit Mann's vision - but it's a genuine vision indeed, executed with a sense of style and control that ranks Public Enemies among his best work.
The director asked a lot of his cinematographer, Dante Spinotti, and this Blu-ray Disc puts it all on your screen. You can practically feel the cloth of the meticulous costumes and touch the dust in the prison yards. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound provides a true home-theater workout, with rumbling trains, thundering horses, and (of course) gun battles that blast across your room.
Mann's commentary includes plenty of background on the moviemaking and the various characters' history, while Universal's U-Control pop-ups offer some additional details. This compensates for the mildly disappointing featurettes, which are about as puffy as they are informative. There's also a gangster-movie trivia game (devoted to Universal releases), if you like that sort of thing. The second disc has a digital copy.