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(2009) (Johnny Depp, Christian Bale) (R)

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Drama/Action: Using new techniques, Justice Department agents step up their efforts to put an end to the crime spree of 1930s era bank robber John Dillinger.
It's 1933, and notorious bank robber John Dillinger (JOHNNY DEPP) has just been sprung from jail. Teaming up with the likes of "Red" Hamilton (JASON CLARKE), Homer Van Meter (STEPHEN DORFF) and others, Dillinger takes up where he left off, thus gaining additional notoriety.

Accordingly, he's become public enemy number one in the eyes of Bureau of Investigation director J. Edgar Hoover (BILLY CRUDUP) who orders one of his subordinates, field agent Melvin Purvis (CHRISTIAN BALE), to catch the bank robber. With new techniques and procedures, Purvis plans on doing just that, but eventually has to call in various seasoned lawmen, such as Charles Winstead (STEPHEN LANG), to help get the job done.

And part of that involves spying on former coat check girl Billie Frechette (MARION COTILLARD), Dillinger's lover to whom he's uncharacteristically devoted. As the bank robber and his men continue on their spree, Purvis and his team do what they can to put an end to that.

If they're fans of anyone in the cast, director Michael Mann, and/or are interested in 1930s era gangsters including John Dillinger, they might be interested.
For gangster violence and some language.
  • JOHNNY DEPP plays a notorious serial bank robber who's good at what he does, including managing to escape from jail. He takes hostages, beats up and shoots at others, uses some profanity, drinks, and has sex with Billie.
  • CHRISTIAN BALE plays the focused Bureau of Investigation field agent who's determined to catch him and put an end to that spree, but must contend with fellow agents who are not as determined or experienced to help him get that job done. He kills various people along the way, including some innocent ones by accident.
  • MARION COTILLARD plays the former coat check girl who becomes Dillinger's lover and then worries about his safety as he continues his spree and the feds keep moving in to capture or kill him.
  • JASON CLARKE and STEPHEN DORFF play members of Dillinger's bank robber gang.
  • BILLY CRUDUP plays the Bureau of Investigation director who wants Purvis to catch Dillinger, not only to stop the crime spree, but also make a name for himself and his agency.
  • STEPHEN LANG plays a seasoned lawman brought in to help Purvis get his man.


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.

    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).

    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity consists of at least 1 "f" word, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Some sexually related dialogue is present, as are views of a sexual encounter (no nudity) as well as a woman enticing a man to join her in a bathtub (brief/partial views of bare breasts, but he's interrupted before anything happens).

    Violence consists of many gun battles where people are wounded or killed, often with fairly bloody results, while people are struck in those and other scenes, including via torture (that involves a female victim in one of those scenes). That material along with moments of potential peril might be unsettling and/or suspenseful to some viewers, while all sorts of bad attitudes are present, and some of the material might be enticing for kids to imitate. Drinking and smoking also occur in various scenes.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there's some of that from the flashes of press cameras.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, all sorts of handheld camerawork occurs throughout the film, some of which is fairly bouncy, including some close-up shots.

  • People have drinks in a restaurant.
  • Dillinger asks Billie if he can buy her a drink and she says yes, but that never happens.
  • People in another restaurant scene have drinks.
  • People have drinks at a reception.
  • Dillinger tells Billie that he likes fast cars, whiskey, and her.
  • People have drinks at a race track.
  • A hotel clerk tells Dillinger and Billie that he can send up sandwiches and beer for them.
  • Dillinger drinks from a flask as his bullet hole wound in his arm is tended to.
  • People drink in a bar and one man appears somewhat intoxicated.
  • An outdoor store sign advertises liquor.
  • We see miscellaneous drinking.
  • A prison guard who's been shot is bloody.
  • An escaped criminal who's been shot is bloody, including a view of some gushing out from a hole in his shirt.
  • We see some blood on a bank employee's head after he's been hit.
  • We see a pool of blood on a carpeted floor next to a man who's been shot.
  • We see a pool of blood by a person who's been shot, while Dillinger's bloody bullet hole wound in his arm is also seen, and then again later with a bloody bandage as it's once more being tended to.
  • We see a bloody person after they've been shot in a car, while an agent is also bloody after being shot elsewhere.
  • A criminal is very bloody after being shot, while another elsewhere has blood soaked through his shirt from being shot.
  • Billie has bruises on her face from where a Fed has beaten her during interrogation. He then slaps her hard across the face, and then again, leaving her with a bit of a bloody lip.
  • A criminal is shot many times, with one bullet going through his face, with bloody results there and elsewhere, including a pool of blood on the sidewalk next to him.
  • Dillinger and the other criminals obviously have bad attitudes for their criminal ways (bank robbery, etc. including using hostages to escape), some of which also includes (on the part of others such as Baby Face Nelson) murder.
  • Some Bureau of Investigation agents end up with bad attitudes for their treatment of criminals and their accomplices, including torture and the beating of a woman, all of which is endorsed (directly or not) by Hoover to get the job done.
  • A lawman accepts a bribe from Dillinger.
  • Another criminal is plotting the robbery of a federal train.
  • Billie doesn't mind that Dillinger is a bank robber and becomes his lover.
  • Upset with an impatient man wanting his coat from Billie (the coat check girl), Dillinger hits the man before getting his coat for him.
  • Billie refers to an agent who's been torturing her as a "fat boy."
  • Purvis blackmails one of Dillinger's associates to help in his capture or else he'll have her deported.
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and "Blood/Gore" may be unsettling and/or suspenseful to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • Having just escaped from prison by driving out, Dillinger and others nervously sit at a red stop light as nearby armed soldiers briefly give them a once-over from the sidewalk.
  • Dillinger and his crew briefly have a gun standoff with another criminal and his men.
  • Purvis and his team surround a movie theater and await the departure of Dillinger. When he does leave, the agents follow him, prepared for anything to happen.
  • Handguns/Tommy guns/Shotguns: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound or kill others and/or cause property damage.
  • In various non-violent scenes, guards, cops and some soldiers wear or carry rifles and handguns, etc.
  • A handgun is smuggled into prison to allow for Dillinger's prison break.
  • Dillinger uses a fake gun to take a prison guard hostage.
  • Dillinger and his crew briefly have a gun standoff with another criminal and his men.
  • Phrases: "F*ck you," "Bullsh*t," "Whorehouses," "Son of a bitch screw" (guard), "Bastard," "You can be a dead hero or a live coward," "Who gives a damn?" "Hit the road, sport," "Beat the hell out of me," "What the hell happened?" "Damn good thing," "Get in the G*ddamn car," "A G*ddamn hero," "You dumb egg," "You dumb bastards," "You dumb flat foot," "Fat boy," "Holy cow" and "Too damn hot."
  • The robberies, gun battles and other behavior might be enticing for some kids to imitate.
  • Federal agents suddenly grab Billie.
  • An extreme amount of suspenseful, ominous and heavily dramatic music plays in the film.
  • None.
  • At least 1 "f" word, 2 "s" words, 2 slang term using male genitals ("pr*cks" and "Prince Albert"), 5 damns, 4 hells, 1 S.O.B., 6 uses of "G-damn" and 1 use of "Oh Christ."
  • When Dillinger mentions one of his rules being to stay away from women (to avoid potentially complicated attachment), another man jokes that's why "they" invented "whores."
  • When Dillinger returns with Billie to his place, we see that one of his fellow robbers has two young women with him, and those three go into a room (we don't see anything else). We next see Billie on top of Dillinger, with her partially undressing down to her slip. We then see side-by-side, rear entry sex, with no nudity or sounds, but slight movement and some sensual kissing, etc. After they're done, the camera focuses on her butt in that slip as she stands.
  • Dillinger and Billie passionately kiss while clothed.
  • We see Billie in a bathtub provocatively lying in the water, her bare leg moving up along the rim, with brief and partial views of her bare breasts as Dillinger playfully says she looks like she could use some company and that he and what sounded like Prince Albert (presumably referring to his genitals) will be joining her (but that never happens as the Feds grab and hit him in the adjoining room).
  • Another criminal boss tells Dillinger that the latter can't be holing up in their "whorehouses" anymore due to the unwanted attention doing so brings to those other criminals.
  • Red, Homer, Winstead and possibly Purvis (seemingly with one in his hand in a car) each smoke at least once, while a number of miscellaneous characters smoke (mostly cigarettes, but also at least 1 pipe) in several scenes. In one scene, Purvis lights up a cigar as a signal for other agents to move in, while Winstead offers a cigarette to Billie, but she doesn't take that.
  • Dillinger tells Billie that his mother died when he was three and that his father "beat the hell" out of him, while she mentions her father dying in the past.
  • The historical accuracy and/or artistic liberties taken with the true story.
  • Despite having done so to facilitate getting away from bank robbery scenes, Dillinger says he's against taking hostages as he's concerned about his public image.
  • Dillinger's philosophy that the only thing important is where you're going, not where you've been.
  • How the modern day FBI grew out of the attempts to capture Dillinger and other gangsters of his era.
  • We see a prisoner on the ground, but don't know what happened to him.
  • During a prison break, several guards are struck and guns are held on them and others. Another is hit, and one is shot several times, with bloody results. As Dillinger and the others escape, a gun battle breaks out between them on the ground, and the guards up on the top of the prison walls (at least one prisoner and one guard are shot). Dillinger holds onto his fellow prisoner (who's been shot) along the side of the moving car, but lets go when the man dies (his body slides along the road before coming to a stop). Inside the car, Dillinger holds his gun to one man's chin before hitting him twice and then pushing him from the moving car.
  • We see Purvis and other feds chasing an escaped criminal who fires a Tommy gun back at them from a distance. Purvis then takes aim and fires several rifle shots, eventually downing the man with a shot that ultimately results in his death.
  • A guard is struck, kneed and then hit with a rifle butt (we don't see the impact of the latter), while Dillinger hits one man.
  • A cop is struck and machine guns are fired at others during a bank robbery, followed by a gun battle where a car and maybe some people are hit by bullets.
  • Upset with an impatient man wanting his coat from Billie (the coat check girl), Dillinger hits the man before getting his coat for him.
  • Purvis and other feds arrive at an apartment building, with Purvis checking out one apartment and the woman and man inside there. Purvis feigns ignorance of identifying the man and leaves for reinforcements, telling one agent to stay put. The man does, but when he's distracted by the arrival of another man, the first criminal comes out and shoots him in the back repeatedly (with bloody results). That's eventually followed by a gun battle, with machine guns fired at the agents who fire back with handguns, while Purvis fires a Tommy gun from a window down at a fleeing car.
  • During a bank robbery, a guard is hit and his head is slammed down to a counter, while guns are held on others.
  • Some Feds grab and hit Dillinger while arresting him.
  • Dillinger uses a fake gun to take a prison guard hostage, hitting that man, with others then grabbing him. As Dillinger and others escape, a door is knocked into another guard who tumbles down some steps. Other guards are then hit, with Dillinger holding his gun to one's chin.
  • A motorcycle cop is shot off his bike during a bank robbery. That's followed by a gun battle outside the bank on the streets where various people on both sides are hit, including Dillinger in the arm.
  • A wounded (and screaming) criminal is tortured and then possibly killed by a Fed as Purvis looks on.
  • Purvis and his team arrive at a cabin in the woods at night, hoping to surround and capture Dillinger. When a car approaches and won't stop at gunpoint, Purvis and others open fire on it, killing or at least wounding several people inside. That draws the attention of Dillinger and others who then open fire on the Feds who return gunfire at them in a massive gun battle (machine guns, shotguns, etc.) where several people are hit and all sorts of property damage occurs. Dillinger and Red manage to escape the building and flee into the woods, taking cover as trees are blasted, etc.
  • A criminal repeatedly shoots an agent.
  • There's a car chase where Dillinger and Purvis exchange gunfire at each other from their respective cars. The criminals' car eventually crashes and flips, with one criminal being shot, and another shooting an agent before being riddled with gunfire as his Tommy gun wildly fires before he dies.
  • Federal agents suddenly grab Billie.
  • Billie has bruises on her face from where a Fed has beaten her during an interrogation. He then slaps her hard across the face, and then again, leaving her with a bit of a bloody lip. When he returns upon learning she lied to him about Dillinger's location, he strikes her head with a hardcover book or something similar. He then goes to punch her, but that's caught by another agent who then shoves him back against a wall and holds his forearm to that man's neck.
  • A door is shot twice to get it open, but the place behind it turns out to be empty.
  • We see Clark Gable's character fire a gun in an old movie (and supposedly injure or kill another person, but we don't see that impact).
  • A criminal is shot many times, with one bullet going through his face, with bloody results there and elsewhere, including a pool of blood on the sidewalk next to him.
  • There's mention (in the "whatever happened to" text at the end of the film) that a person took their own life.

  • Reviewed June 25, 2009 / Posted July 1, 2009

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