Saturday, 12 January 2013

Film Review: Gangster Squad (2013)

Director: Ruben Fleischer
Writer: Will Beall
Stars: Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin and Emma Stone

Gangster Squad is an appalling lazy attempt at the gangster genre and falls flat in nearly every department. It’s like watching famous faces playing dress-up for 100 minutes whilst a film student in his first year makes what he thinks is a ‘cool’ take on the genre.

Comparisons to Brain de Palma’s undisputed classic The Untouchables are endless but listing these two films in the same sentence is as pointless as the reason for Gangster Squad ever being made. The story and script is nothing less than the best bits of other genre films cut and pasted together minus the talent behind their greatness; anyone who has seen enough films to know originality when they see it should stay far away. When will studios stop putting money into these woeful screenplays?

The real blame here fall at director Ruben Fleischer, a man who clearly has no understanding or appreciation of the 1940-50s period, if he did he wouldn’t shoot in slow motion as if he were making the next Resident Evil film. Do you know why some directors choose to slow down their films to super-slow motion? It’s because they haven’t got a single solitary idea in the minds to do anything else. Why try to shoot a film intelligently and have your own trademarks all over it when you can just copy all the other sub-par directors out there? Authentic costumes and set design alone DOES NOT mean your audience will be transported to 1949 if you shoot it like Watchmen and light it like Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. It tries so hard to be tough and exciting but manages to get very boring, very quickly when you can see straight through its facade.

The usually fantastic cast are all held accountable, too, despite having to deliver dialogue that no one could walk away from unscathed. Sean Penn gives it his all but, like Guy Pearce in the similarly flawed but slightly better Lawless, he is too over the top compared to the other actors around him that he might as well be an actual cartoon on the screen. The prosthetics and cartoonish acting worked to great effect in Dick Tracy but that made sense in their world, this is simply overacting from a man who doesn’t need this rubbish on his CV. On the other end of the scale is Emma Stone who never succeeds, not for one frame, to convince as the gangster’s moll and femme fatale. She looks like a 2013 girl in fancy dress and way out of her depth.

Stop thinking for yourself verdict: The list of failures within Gangster Squad are too numerous to list so stay in and watch (insert and other film of the genre) on DVD instead and save your money. The less tickets that are bought, the less profit it can make. Trust me, you don’t want another film like this being made any time soon.

1 comment:

  1. Gangster Squad provides a welcome burst of heat and color, even if those qualities are more illusory than real and subject to a fast fade.