Starring: Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Josh Brolin
Directed by: Ruben Fleischer
Written By: Will Beall, Paul Lieberman
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 1 hr 43 min
So Gangster Squad is supposed to be very loosely based on true life events and characters. So why did it feel like the long awaited sequel to Dick Tracy? For me, as the film ran along, it felt like a collection of cool ideas were being strung together without any real thought as to how they would fit into the overall story. The set up felt too simplistic, and the development of the characters inconsistent. The film also makes some convenient leaps as it heads into the final act. So much so I started loudly throwing out question after question at the screen, all starting with “How did you know.” Followed by “who”, “where” and “how!”
It’s a shame too as Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, and Sean Penn really try to make the most of the material. The story too certainly had plenty of potential. Emma Stone however is completely wasted in this production, and the writing is lackluster at best. I even encountered issues behind the camera. Gangster Squad is well shot, and the action well staged and edited. The sound however is another story. At times I could hear Steve Jablonsky’s excellent score, but it was frequently overpowered by the sound effects editing.
This movie plays like a blend of other more interesting films. A dash of the Dirty Dozen, a pinch of Dick Tracy and a teaspoon of The Untouchables. Stir and serve. Keep your expectations low, and you may get some enjoyment out of this simplistic good vs evil story.
It’s nicely shot, so if a theater matinee was available that would work. At home a HD viewing brings out the best in this film.
Best scene for me: << spoiler! I’m serious! >>
Sgt. Jerry Wooters (Josh Brolin) comes home to find it has been shot to pieces. We watch in slow motion as he runs into the house to find his wife, who was still very pregnant the last time he saw her. He runs into the house, pushing people out of the way. He then notices blood on the floor leading to the bathroom, and we fear the worst. He follows the blood to find his wife lying in the bath tub. The shot cuts to the view past his wife Connie (Mireille Enos), who is still alive and holding their new baby. Jerry slides over to her and they embrace.