"‘Violence is as American as blueberry pie’, and this film is yet another illustration of that saying. Factually, the film is nearly 100% accurate. Emotionally, it completely misrepresents Dillinger in the interests of pandering to that combination of sentimentality and admiration of brute force that makes up the dark underside of the American psyche.
Dillinger, a bully as a child and a sociopath as an adult, is portrayed as – well, really quite a nice guy. The director represents this serial whoremaster as touchingly devoted partner to his rather sweet girlfriend ‘Billie’. The fact that, as the film correctly states, Dillinger was finally gunned down after an evening out with a couple of prostitutes, might seem to some of us to be at odds with that image. But director Mann, for whom ‘irony’ is evidently what you do to remove creases from a shirt, takes this all in his stride, leaving us with the only factual inaccuracy of the film: Dillinger’s ‘last words’ (never actually uttered) for Billie, delivered by one of the G-men in a cloyingly sickly final scene.
In a further unconscious irony, the man who orchestrated the manhunt for Dillinger, Melvin Purvis, is portrayed here as the real psychopath. He is humourlessly stated to have died by his own hand in 1960, and we are presumably meant to believe that his inner demons finally destroyed him, and that Dillinger’s romantically free spirited attitude to life is best after all. The facts that Purvis was treated abominably by the jealous Hoover after his success with Dillinger, and that his shooting was probably an accident with a faulty firearm, are ignored in the interests of this shoddy piece of posthumous public relations.
The take home lesson? Watch the film, and understand how it is that the US can continue to admire and support the gang of sociopaths currently running the state of Israel."