[Insert girlish squeal.]

Finally, after an incredibly disappointing string of crappy, halfhearted summer movie releases, we get to the good stuff. Public Enemies is entertainment for adults, a cat-and-mouse period thriller riddled with glamour, excitement, and real cinematic craftsmanship. Michael Mann, solidly rebounding from 2006's disastrous Miami Vice remake, seems to be having the time of his life mythologizing John Dillinger. He gets the most out of his cast, too: Billy Crudup, especially, nails J. Edgar Hoover as a creepy bastard who can't handle it when reality doesn't match his desires. Unfortunately, Christian Bale's turn as driven FBI agent Melvin Purvis doesn't quite match up to the rest of the top-notch cast. Bale plays him a bit too cardboard; he doesn't allow the audience to get into Purvis's head.

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But the good far outstrips the bad here. The camera revels in every luscious period detail, and the tense, brutal action sequences are classic Mann. This isn't the best movie he's ever directed (longish stretches of the film lack structure and the score veers into generic territory fairly often), but it's probably the most entertaining. Even a couple of heavy-handed moments that accentuate the government's willingness to torture in a "war on crime"—government-sanctioned torture on film is so 2008—can't make Enemies any less thrilling.

In many ways, this is a one-man show: Johnny Depp leavens folk-celebrity bank robber Dillinger with more than a dash of young Elvis Presley. When he smirks, you half expect him to be assaulted by a horde of screaming teenage girls. His scenes with Marion Cotillard make the most of that seductiveness: They look like they're going to eat each other. It's really adorable. Depp usually tries so hard to fugly himself up or weigh his character down with weird tics that to see him like this—as an attractive, charismatic, famous man—feels like a revelation. recommended