AN EMPIRE OF WORDS

Gangster Squad

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Before I begin, this may contain some spoilers so go see before you read.

I went to see Gangster Squad yesterday, and thought it was excellent. There were splendid positives when watching it, and only but a few negatives that I can think of. Ruben Fleischer, having most notably directed Zombieland and 30 Minutes or Less, it can be fair to say Gangster Squad is a break away from his usual directing habits.

Now, I have to mention I am a sucker for any kind of film involving gangsters from this era and this film is no exception and made me feel the happiness and delight I always feel when watching similar films such as Public Enemies and Miller’s Crossing. Couple this with the cast of Sean Penn, Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling, i’m already going to be excited by the prospect of this film.

For me, the film delivered with¬†necessity. Following the reign of Mickey Cohen and his underground control over Los Angeles, including the important political officials and officers. Sean Penn was playing Mickey Cohen and for me, his portrayal of Cohen was the best part of the film. Josh Brolin was also brilliant playing Sergeant John O’Mara, a man still stuck in a war phase of his life. Gosling’s character was a breath of fresh air, the two of the aforementioned actors in short played badasses. Gosling, was more of a witty, suave, smooth killer. If that is possible. However, I must say he kind of drifted into the background during the latter half of the film.

I believe Emma Stone’s character, although was good for her, did not prove to be significant until the conclusion of the film and that was when she played a key part more than anything. The conclusion was a fair one, one that is more than likely expected where the bad guy loses and the good guy triumphs and I cannot argue with this conclusion as it was a good one, whereas other films have obvious but awful endings.

The film was very spectacular in the picturesque sense. Due to the film being set in 1940 – 1950s the costume, props and setting were what would be expected of a gangster films set in this era. And of course, this was done superbly, it gave a very nostalgic feel for that era, most notably done by the strip of Los Angeles, where one of Mickey Cohen’s clubs/operations was based, decorated with the city lights, cars and spotlights indicating the places to be. This alongside some spectacular shots, my favourite being the slow-motion shootout between Cohen and O’Mara, this films becomes a big hitter for the 2013, and of course a great start of hopefully a good run of films.

Unfortunately, there were some grievances that were had with me. I could spot some of the happenings a mile off, such as the character of Giovanni Ribisi being killed and the mentor ‘passing on’ the reigns to a his ‘student’ if you will, before his death. However, these issues do not make it a considerably bad film, just a few minor details. My opinion is that this film is great due to the great acting abilities on show coupled with the spectacle on show and set in a time period excellently. This would be a strong recommendation from me, I wouldn’t go as far as start saying it won’t be easily beaten as film of 2013 for me, as it’s a long year, but it can be a serious contender for my top ten I believe.

Thank you reading, as per, any comments or feedback are highly appreciated!

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Author: Nathan Harris

Currently studying Film & Television studies and Media Writing at Derby University. Hopefully wanting to become a film critic/journalist.

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