By Chris Nashawaty
Updated June 29, 2009 at 04:00 AM EDT
  • Movie

Starring: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, Billy Crudup
Directed by: Michael Mann
Release date: July 1

For a summer movie that features neither superheroes nor cyborgs, it certainly helps to have a cast headlined by Depp and Bale — maybe the only two actors in Tinseltown able to carry a franchise flick and hang on to their artistic street cred. In a way, you could say that Depp and Bale are the movie’s special effects. This might also be the only movie opening during the air-conditioning months that could still be talked about at Oscar time.

Still, moviegoers shouldn’t expect two-plus hours of Method fireworks between the stars. ”We had very few scenes together,” admits Bale. ”In fact, it was one. Otherwise, Johnny was just a silhouette I was shooting at.” Just one scene? Kind of like Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in Mann’s Heat? ”Well, don’t misunderstand. This is about Dillinger. I’m the supporting role. So it’s not the kind of moment that you’re talking about.”

If they don’t share a lot of screen time, one thing Depp and Bale did share was their favorite scene in the film: a re-creation of the infamous 1934 FBI raid at the Little Bohemia Lodge in northern Wisconsin. Mann and his crew made a pilgrimage to the actual location where Dillinger narrowly escaped Purvis and his men. Even now, months after the fact, Bale still seems almost giddy reminiscing about it. ”I fired so many bullets in those woods in the middle of the night, I was literally tasting metal for a week afterwards.” May we suggest some popcorn as a palate cleanser?

Public Enemies

  • Movie
  • R
  • 95 minutes
  • Michael Mann