22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
One of the very best in the Gangster genre.,
This review is from: Gloria [DVD]  (DVD)
Gloria remains one of director John Cassavetes most accessable films. It is also his most commercially successful, being one of 1980's biggest hits at the Box Office.
Cassavates cast his wife, Gena Rowlands in the title role of a former Mafiosa Moll trying to get on with a life, in a post Mob existence. This, however, is turned upside down when she finds herself with a six year old boy whose family has just been wiped out by the very Mob with whom she used to consort. Realising the magnitude of the situation, she cynically first of all tries to get rid of the lad but later forms a maternal bond with him. Both go on the run together, in a desperate struggle to survive and flee the city. Before long, the Mob have despatched their hitmen. However, and unfortunately for the Mob, Gloria definitely ain't a lady for the burning, and instead is a very tough individual who uses her streetwise knowledge and considerable skill with a firearm to terrible effect. Soon a trail of Mob bodies begins to pile up as various gangsters lethally underestimate Gloria, in their attempts to snatch the boy....
Rowlands is simply superb in the role, and at times strides across the screen like a female Bogart. Her wardrobe complements this, and the overall effect is that of a tigress protecting its young. This is underlined by one scene where she guns down a hitman and retrieving his pistol, snarls contemptuously "Huh, he had to use a Magnum on me!"
The music by Bill Conti is superb and sax riffs have seldom sounded so good as in this film. Ultimately this is a bleak film to watch, colour is very subdued and the atmosphere is raw and gritty. The ending is very ambiguous and Cassavates has pretty much left it up to the viewer to interpret what is actually happening.
This is a truly great film though and I recommend it unreservedly.