The problem with doing films based on true events, let alone historical events, is that your ending is pretty much set in stone for you. Very little wiggle room. Because basically you are surviving solely on the merits of your performance.
And alot of people won't go to see a film like Titanic, because they know in advance that the boat sinks. And in the case of this film if you know even a little American history, John Dillinger gets shot.
Now going into this film I had a fairly decent understanding about the man, or at least I thought I did. I knew he was a ruthless killer and a flamboyant personality. And that he died in a hail of gun fire, betrayed by his girlfriend, outside a movie theater in Chicago.
And I won't spoil much for you but it seems some liberties were taken with the story line. Which is fine, the film was enjoyable. Not overly exciting, but enjoyable. And this is due in greater part to the performances of Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard and of course Johnny Depp.
The gunfighting scenes with the roaring Tommy Guns, was alot like the fire fights in Star Wars, lots going on, bullets flying, but seems to take forever for someone to get hit. So even that got a little old quickly.
The story was limited, and the characters were a little two dimensional, you never really get a good look into what makes these people tick? You are given quick little explanations, and then wisked away into prolonged series of events that is basically bewildering and somewhat pointless.
You are never really sure from beginning to end why you are watching this? Or what the point the director Michael Mann was trying to make with this rather lengthy movie? Was John Dillinger a likeable misunderstood hero, or a ruthless killer?
And equally confusing is the position of purpose behind the way the FBI was portrayed in this film, are we to believe they are inept ruthless kilers as well? Or bungling idiots on some sort of vendetta to prove themselves to a sceptical society? It was all sort of sketchy at best.
Johnny Depp, Chistian Bale and Marion Cotillard delivered superb performances, as did the support cast. Lots of support cast in this, though not much shine time for any of them including some fairly big names like Stephen Dorff, David Wenham, Giovanni Ribisi, James Russo, Rory Cochrane and Billy Cruddup.
So all I can say, is don't believe the hype, it's an entertaing enough film, don't rush out to see it if another film grabs your interest. It is worth catching on DVD.