Gangster Squad (2013)

Gangster SquadIt’s 1949, and in the wake of World War II Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) has wrestled the city of Los Angeles from its angels and subsequently set his sights on the Mafia Mecca of Chicago. In an attempt to put an end to the crime boss’ reign before it’s too late, Police Chief Bill Parker (Nick Nolte) recruits good cop Sgt. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) and asks that he put together an unofficial task-force of officers that he can trust. Meanwhile, initially reluctant to join the newly formed Gangster Squad, best friend Sgt. Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling) sets his eye on the kingpin’s girl (Emma Stone).

With its release delayed for four months following the Aurora shootings, so that Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer could re-shoot an eerily reminiscent cinema-centric gunfight, Gangster Squad finally opened in January to substantially less fanfare than had initially been expected. Despite its supposed basis in reality, all-star cast and once-prolific director, Fleischer’s latest is little more than a generic gangster movie.

The film simply lacks a personality of its own, with Fleischer’s visual flair placing the film firmly in movieland when it should really have milked its true story for some sort of edge. Instead, we get a series of stylishly shot clinches that leave little or no impression whatsoever, while a group of characters we have all seen before try as hard as they can not to plagiarise the innumerable better movies that have come before.

Josh Brolin is as amorphous as usual in the film’s leading role (I didn’t even realise he was in the thing until the film started). This is in stark contrast to Penn’s crackpot crime boss; all wobbly arms and Chicago accent, he comes close to courting parody as the film’s miraculously non-fiction felon. By far the biggest talking point (well, second biggest) prior to release was the fact that Gangster Squad would reunite Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as star-crossed lovers, except that nobody seems to have told either that it was actually supposed to be a big deal.

The film doesn’t quite bore, though, and at just under two hours it is one of very few recent releases that doesn’t outstay its welcome. Ex-X Filer Robert Patrick and budding Falcon Anthony Mackie entertain in supporting roles, while Mireille Enos gets some unexpected mileage out of the usually thankless role of Hero’s Pregnant Wife. All in all though, it’s nothing to get excited about.



About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

3 Responses to Gangster Squad (2013)

  1. Nostra says:

    I really enjoyed it a lot and called in the videogame version of The Intouchables.

  2. Lorne Marr says:

    I am bit worried about over the top action full of shootouts, blowouts and I don’t know what else. It would be a shame to have such great actors as Sean Penn or Ryan Gosling in a straightforward action movie. With their potential it can be much more. I still prefer the humble, minimalistic yet very strong atmosphere and style of Godfather or Goodfellas. There was some action, but the main focus was on the characters, their personality traits and the overall atmosphere of their time.

  3. Pingback: January 2013 – Buzzards’ guts, man! « popcornaddict

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