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Customer Review

27 of 35 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Gangster Drama by numbers, 15 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Gangster Squad [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
Gangster Squad
Dir. Ruben Fleicher / Cert 15 / 111 minutes)

How can a film with so many guns, so much blood and such a fine cast fall so flat? I'm a big fan of the genre, so I had high expectations for Gangster Squad, but everything here has been done before and done better. It feels to me as if the filmmakers worked to a shopping list of ingredients, a tick-list of `must-include' tropes thrown together, checked off one-by-one by cautious, smug Hollywood execs, dollar signs for eyes, staring greedily out of empty bloodless sockets.

The result is a workmanlike, shallow and impassionate jigsaw of mismatched pieces, all style and no substance, all pizazz and no plot, with dialogue that sounds like it's come straight out of `How to Write A Gangster Movie for Dummies'. I couldn't even enjoy it as a piece of pastiche because the characters were so utterly dimensionless Performances are weak across the board - Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone can't decide whether to go for ham or cheese, and have none of the chemistry (sexual or otherwise) that they brought to Crazy Stupid Love and somebody really needed to take Nick Nolte and Sean Penn aside and tell them that this wasn't a pantomime. Perhaps I should lighten-up - from what I understand, many people have enjoyed Penn's over-the-top villain, but I'm sorry, having him snarling lines like `Out here, I'm a GOD!!!' took me completely out of the story and the drama. Admittedly, the shoot `em up climax is well-shot and slickly executed, and the closest the film ever comes to having a pulse, but by this point, the damage is done and I couldn't care less who lives and who dies, who wins and who loses.

If you want super-slick 1940s noir-thriller, look no further than Curtis Hanson's superb LA Confidential (1997), or do yourself a favour and invest in HBO's continuing masterwork Boardwalk Empire, a contemporary example of how to do period-set gangster drama intelligently and unpredictably. If you want to waste your time and your money, see this.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Mar 2013 10:34:43 GMT
jori alkema says:
Its almost like the best bits of the untouchables, boardwalk and l.a. confindential. its a shame, I also had high expectations, but those will be met, if in fact you havent seen the previously mentioned movies and series. But then again, its not about whats already been done, but more about, how its done, and in this movie, its not a better version . Its a shame, I love gangster movies, but when you laugh a lot during a gangster flick, its not a good sign >_<
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