If the film has a failing, it's that it tries to incorporate too much into Dillinger's story, covering not only his tenacious federal foe Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale) but also Purvis's boss J. Edgar Hoover (Billy Crudup) and the various other criminal figures inhabiting the landscape. Their world is in a state of rapid change, as the burgeoning media grows more powerful and America sinks further into the Great Depression. Criminals of the era find themselves precariously balanced between the benefits of nationwide notoriety and the way Hoover twists such notoriety to his advantage. Celebrity crooks--men with flashy names like Pretty Boy and Baby Face--make a big impression on the public, but they also earn the ire of organized crime syndicates who want to keep quietly making money without drawing attention to themselves. Hoover, for his part, implicitly understands the power of radio and motion pictures, and intends to enhance his own standing with it even as he uses it to put criminals behind bars.