Time Out says
It’s a fascinating moment in history, and Mann captures the cars, the guns and the buildings with painstaking, immersive authenticity. Then he has cameraman Dante Spinotti shoot it in widescreen digital video (with white-out windows it looks deliberately ‘digital’ too), so creating a ’30s crime flick with an in-the-moment immediacy quite unlike other period reconstructions. We’re right there on the running board as the getaway cars screech down the streets…
Impressive though it is, the film would be more thrilling if we had any genuine emotional connection to the characters. We end up knowing more about the social and political context for the crime spree than we do about the motivations of the key players: Depp’s Dillinger is driven by some generalised desire to escape, his moll Marion Cotillard merely sketched in, Christian Bale’s square-jawed lawman Melvin Purvis implacable in carrying out his duties. Elliot Goldenthal’s orchestral score strikes up to suggest some tragedy unfolding, but we’re just not swept up in it – and the Bush-era resonance in the human-rights questions posed by the feds’ brutal tactics isn’t sufficient compensation.
As in Mann’s ‘Miami Vice’, there’s a worrying feeling that the movie’s just skating over our feelings without really gathering much traction. It’s an event movie, of course, yet as Mann continues to lock himself into handheld DV mode, it does seem as if much of the poise and nuance has gone out of his filmmaking.
Cast and crew
Emilie de Ravin