Friday, May 31, 2013

Gangster Squad - DVD Review

Starring Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, Emma Stone, Nick Nolte, Mireille Enos, Anthony Mackie, Giovanni Ribisi, Michael Pena, Robert Patrick, Troy Garity, Sullivan Stapleton, Jon Polito and John Aylward.  Directed by Ruben Fleischer.


This is a pulpy True Detective dime-store cops-and-mobsters movie.  As such, it's attracted a stellar cast. I imagine the talent all in one room, looking at each other, and then saying "Since we're here, should we try to make an actual good movie? Nah, let's just have fun!"

Remember Warren Beatty's Dick Tracy?  Remember Christian Slater and Patrick Dempsey as Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky in Mobsters? This movie has more in common with those ventures than, say, The Untouchables.  Josh Brolin is assigned by the LAPD chief (Nick Nolte) to go after gangster Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn), a man who enjoys killing apologizing underlings more than Darth Vader.

Meanwhile Cohen's dame (Emma Stone) is having an affair with another cop (Ryan Gosling), who joins Brolin's crew.

Everyone in this movie looks like they're having a blast, but it follows the old Siskel rule. "Is this movie better than just watching these actors sitting around talking over lunch?" The answer is no.

Penn's Cohen seems like he came out of the Sin City sequel, both in stylized overacting and make-up.  Gosling takes this amusing soft-slide to his voice, reminiscent of Mickey Doyle from Boardwalk Empire.  Stone's too modern to comfortably walk in her moll's shoes.

The whole thing though is relentlessly shallow.  It has no desire to leave an imprint. It just wants to shoot Tommy guns and cackle like Cagney.

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