Sunday, June 9, 2013

3 Short Paragraphs: Gangster Squad

2013, Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) -- download

This is one of those bad movies where you are not sure where exactly everything went wrong. You have a great cast: Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Giovanni Ribisi, Robert Patrick and even a coherent, well acted Nick Nolte. You have great depiction of gangster era LA, the big city that is all suburbs and bright primary colours. You also get a pretty, if by the (noir) books, decent plot of the gathering of an ensemble, no warrant required, squad of unique cops to take down Mickey Cohen. But it all just goes wrong, wrong wrong wrong.

O'Mara (Brolin) is the 3-color comic book cop who is more concerned about protecting citizens than he is following the letter of the law. The city is completely corrupted around him so when Chief Parker (Nolte) recruits him to build an off the books group of like minded crime fighters, he jumps at the chance. And through their own use of thuggery and expertise, they become a thorn in the side of Cohen (Penn). Of course, things go horribly wrong.

This is a movie where other movies did it better. The Untouchables did the ensemble squad better, with Sean Connery playing the better wisdom-filled veteran than Robert Patrick. Kevin Spacey played the better slick, ladies man corrupt cop in LA Confidential than Gosling's young idealistic, if bent cop. Of course, we know that De Niro played the better unhinged gangster. I will give Emma Stone a thumbs-up as the mesmerizing moll but I admit, I may have a Roger Ebert style bias here.  And if you really want to see Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling have a relationship, go watch Crazy, Stupid Love again.

So something good can come of this whole affair, here is a lovely fan made poster of the movie.