From a production standpoint, this is a very interesting movie. The mix of HD and handheld camera work gives Public Enemies a unique mise en scene and the excellent sound design adds a realistic and much needed punch to the action scenes. Likewise, the acting is generally excellent with Johnny Depp putting in his usual terrific performance and Christian Bale finally ditching the congested Batman/John Conner speaking style.
However while technically excellent, Public Enemies was ultimately a bit of a disappointment. The story felt disjointed and (surprisingly given that it's about bank robbers) generally tension-free. The film seemed a lot more interested with the minute details of Dillenger's life than the broader story. Shot on location, the film looks incredibly realistic which ultimately doesn't matter so much because the audience often has little reason to care about the characters on the screen.
Public Enemies is definitely worth seeing and given how weak this year has been movie-wise I'm sure it'll be nominated for a lot for awards, but given the cast and crew I expected a lot more. The acting performances coupled with the unique visuals and sound design carry the film, but I can't help thinking that a more cohesive story would have made Public Enemies a great film rather than just a good one.