In this classic gangster action flick, Johnny Depp plays bank robber and cop killer John Dillinger, a notorious criminal in the midwest United States in the early 1930s. Dillinger’s sheer brazenness leads to his legendary success, as well to the formation of what would become today’s FBI and to his eventual downfall. Depp is excellent in the lead, managing to humanize the character without seeming to fish for sympathy. Christian Bale does a satisfactory job as the agent tasked with taking Dillinger down, although I found myself wishing he would have showed just how all-consuming the chase was to the character. There is also a strong supporting cast, and although the film is violent, the gunfights add to the story rather than simply capitalizing on the shock factor.

In theaters December 12.