Review: 'Public Enemies'
A full 15 people (led by Avy Kaufman and Bonnie Timmerman) are credited with casting work on the film, and every face that appears on screen, from the members of Purvis' Chicago FBI squad to youthful junior G-men, are clearly hand-picked for individuality and impact.
Mann's attention to nominally small things, his insistence that every detail be authentic, including the clothes (Colleen Atwood is the costume designer) and the often historic locations (Nathan Crowley is production designer), lend a sense of rightness to the entire endeavor.
One of the interesting side effects of this exceptional care is to make "Public Enemies" so real it seems to transcend its period and exist out of time. Though the Depression was a major factor in Dillinger's career, we don't see or feel it all that much. What we get instead is the sense of a man whose name has lasted until now for a reason and, if the movies have anything to say about it, will last longer still.
This is how Michael Mann makes critically acclaimed movies.
Mann's movies might also make money if they weren't star vehicles: Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx (Miami Vice), Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx (Collateral), Will Smith (Ali), Al Pacino and Russell Crowe (The Insider), Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino (Heat). Only Collateral made money domestically.
Incidentally, Mann also made The Last of the Mohicans with Daniel Day-Lewis and Russell Means. Not the greatest movie, but at least it made money. Authentic movie-making plus authentic (and low-budget) cast = profit.
For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies.