Saturday, 8 June 2013

Review - Gangster Squad

Gangster Squad - Based on a true story, a man on a mission Sgt. John O'Mara sets up a secret crew of police officers, to work together in an effort to take down the most ruthless mob king in the town; Mickey Cohen - the man who runs the city.

Hello All

Welcome to the next instalment of Dr.Film reviews which is a film I watched quite recently, 'Gangster Squad'. It's based on a true story starring Josh Brolin, Sean Penn and Ryan Gosling in the leading roles and directed by the director of '30 minutes or less' - Ruben Fleischer.

'Gangster Squad' arrived in the UK and the US on the 11th of January 2013, and resulted in being a film of mixed opinion and was heavily criticised by the news paper critics. It is now available to buy on DVD, Blu-Ray and on Itunes.

After seconds of watching this film, I knew I had to review it as soon as I could. this has been the first time, I have been ambitious to review a film. and that proves that 'Gangster Squad' had an effect on me as a viewer as being something very different indeed.

SPOILER ALERT : you know the drill, there's going to spoilers, if you don't like it. go away.

The film is set in 1949 Los Angeles, (five years after world war II) the audience is introduced to gangster Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) who has moved in. 

Cohen has the intention of controlling all criminal activity in the city, and sets out very much as soon as the audience meet him to proove LA is his town. if you don't like it, he will deal with you. Cohen is a man with a lot of power, he has bought local judges and police, and because of all the fear and degradation he has caused, no one in LA is willing to cross him or testify against him.

However Sergeant John O'Mara (Josh Brolin), a former World War II soldier, has a goal to settle down and insure that his family sleep in a peaceful Los Angeles at night. When his boss Police Chief William Parker decides to assign O'Mara to form a special unit of trusted cops whose mission is to take down Cohen and his business, O'Mara sets out to prove a point, and the gangster squad is born.

O'Mara chooses four cops and asks another cop comrade and friend of his, Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling) to join him but Wooters refuses. But when he witnesses the murder of a young boy by Cohen's people, he joins them as part of a revenge agenda. 

But Cohen is not stupid, and has his suspicions. he wonders if a rival is going after him, and eventually he realises it's the cops. 


'Gangster Squad' is a very hard hitting, drastic, crime drama with a lot of sense of realism to it, you get a real thrill out of watching it. but having said that, those aspects of 'Gangster Squad' don't make it fantastic, what makes it stand out among all odds is the fact that the writer (Will Beall) and director (Ruben Fleischer) stuck to their guns, and immediately excelled their talents to bring words of the Paul Lieberman book to the screen, I found that very authentic.

I love what was accomplished, the sets, the designs, the costumes, they were all current and accurate to the time it was set. I thought that things very apparent and well set and the lighting was acute. In all honesty I think things paid off really well, very detailed and very athentic.

Performance wise I thought that it was hit and miss with the cast, some actors came through and delivered a strong performance, whilst others were not so strong and things fell down because of that, so I thought that the casting was okay. not brilliant, the good actors like 'Josh Brolin' and 'Ryan Gosling' did a good job, whilst other people like 'Mick Betancourt' were not so great.

The action sequences did look a bit silly at times, again hit and miss, some things like blowing up buildings or car chases were done very well, but some gun fights weren't done as well as I thought they could of been done, they weren't and, just not done to the best way they could of.

Is 'Gangster Squad' worth watching? it's difficult to say, I can't really give a straight forward yes or no answer, because I have a lot of mixed opinions on this film, and it wouldn't be my call to say so anyway, but what I will say is, it's different to everything else that's been out previously, and if you like variety then maybe consider seeing this sooner rather than later.

Overall I'm giving 'Gangster Squad' an 8/10 on the strength of the achievements from the writer and the director.

I'm not going to give out any stars to anyone in cast or crew, simply because of that 50/50 effect with the acting, to me, the cast were not all that special. they were some good actors who did a good job but then again nothing special. they're just doing a job at the end of the day. so no stars for this film I'm afraid.

Thank you for reading this review, I hope my opinion has not discredited what you think of the film, as everyone is entitled to their ownopinion.

My next review will be 'Lincoln' starring Daniel Day Lewis and directed by Steven Spielberg. that review will be posted on Monday the 10th of June 2013.

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