Friday, 11 January 2013

Gangster Squad Review


Words by Mike Jonas

Upon receiving word late last year that the mob film “Gangster Squad” had been put together, my first reaction after rolling my eyes back and burying my head into my hands was to ask why?! How many more films examining this subject matter are really needed to tell us what we haven’t heard time and time again. Don’t get me wrong I have enjoyed watching the likes of The Godfather, Goodfellas, Untouchables, scarface, Casino, Public Enemy of the many available, but what could possibly be different this time round I hear you ask? The answer being probably not a lot given that any film based on an individual mob figure from the early 1940’s must of all been referring to the same “mob boss” handbook.

Thankfully when a project like this was green lit by the studios, the choice of Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland, 30 minutes or less) to direct was a wise decision proving he still has a lot more to offer us besides zombies and Comedy antics. “Gangster Squad” loosely focused on the criminal activities of Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) waging war against the LAPD as he fought to take over the East coast. Desperate to find resolution, the LAPD’s final attempts were to commission a division of “off the book” officers (Ryan Gosling, Giovanni Ribisi, Michael Peña, Anthony Mackie and Robert Patrick), led by Sgt. John O'Mara (Josh Brolin). Their sole purpose to diminish all proceeds funding Cohen’s underworld and cripple his empire by any means deemed necessary, which must also include breaking the same law they have sworn to protect.

Like with any film of this genre, the audience are reminded of the innocent parties also affected by these actions from both sides. To help create the lighter side to the harsh reality and brutal content featured, Actresses Mireille Enos and Emma Stone provide wonderful support that really does take the edge off some of the scenes shown. Although both female roles are equally very different providing two different perspectives, their overall fears and concerns of wellbeing towards their men and themselves are very much the same. 

Finding the right collaboration amongst the group obviously an important factor, something which has been given considerable thought shouldn’t disappoint any viewers. With each character bringing a unique talent and different attitude to the situation, who are all agreed the problem needs to be resolved. 

Penn’s cold hearted portrayal as the infamous Mickey Cohen is nothing short of superb, the lack of compassion shown towards those begging for forgiveness (and in most cases their lives) makes for good entertainment throughout the whole film. His no nonsense attitude created for the part with the appearance makes you wonder if Cohen really knows what he’s doing or if one to many blows to the head from boxing has left him violently unstable. 

I honestly feel for anyone who has been eager to see this since it was first announced last year, the wait is nearly over. The no mercy brutally from start (I’m talking literally minutes into the film) to finish will leave people with disbelief, each injury from hard hitting nose breaking punches to things I’m not sure I should even mention are shown in all their magnificent glory.

Hitting Cinemas across the UK Friday 11th January

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