It's a holiday summer weekend, which means it's time for a blockbuster to open in theaters. This time around it's Public Enemies, starring Johnny Depp as the notorious Depression-era bank robber John Dillinger. Can it topple Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen at the box office? We'll know Sunday. In the meantime, here is what some of the top critics in the nation are saying about the Michael Mann-directed Public Enemies:
"Why is this movie one of the signal disappointments of the year? You have to go back to the basics: 'Public Enemies'’ has everything going for it except a reason and a script. Do you really need either when Depp is up there giving a working definition of star power? Surprisingly, yes."
-- Ty Burr, Boston Globe
"This is very disciplined film. You might not think it was possible to make a film about the most famous outlaw of the 1930s without clichés and 'star chemistry' and a film class screenplay structure, but Mann does it."
-- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Shot and projected digitally instead of on film, the picture gains in gradations of night shades but loses in visual clarity. Some shots look like iPhone photos enlarged to 50 feet; any sharp camera movement results in a blur. The same has to be said for the movie. It lacks overall focus, and at the end you may have a question for Michael Mann: Why'd you bother?"
-- Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine
"Onscreen, in Depp's towering performance, Dillinger still has blood in his veins, his dreams as vivid as the crimes that debased them. "Public Enemies" comes at you like Dillinger did: all of a sudden. It's movie dynamite."
-- Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
"The fatally miscast Johnny Depp's smaller-than-life performance as the famed gangster is the central flaw in Michael Mann's disappointing, curiously uninvolving 'Public Enemies.'"
-- Lou Lumenick, New York Post
"It’s a fascinating bundle of contradictions—authentic in a million details, deeply romanticized in others. Cool, calm and collected, this is more love story than gangster picture—Marion Cotillard, Oscar winner for 'La Vie En Rose,' plays Dillinger’s lover, Billie Frechette—and it’s more vivid around the edges than at its center. Yet a genuine filmmaking intelligence guides every scene, even the frustrating ones."
-- Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune