Gangster Squad (2013)

GANGSTER-SQUAD-PosterStarring: Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Emma Stone, Anthony Mackie, Michael Peña

Directed by: Ruben Fleischer

R. 110 mins

Despite glossy production design and a good-looking cast, this neo-noir is a hollow mess. Loosely based on the story of Brooklyn-born mob king Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn), the film is set in 1949 Los Angeles as he runs the town with his brutal violence and dirty money. Most cops are intimidated by Mickey and his partners but not Sgt. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) – he arranges his own gangster squad with the help of Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling) in order to bring down Mickey and restore some sense of order in town. Unfortunately, the talented cast can’t save the film which is overwrought with poor dialogue and curious tonal shifts. While it looks the part, Fleischer can’t seem to decide if his film is to be taken seriously, or as a pulpy mashup. Gangster Squad is a waste of money and talent; it’s a shame that this cartoonish version of The Untouchables forgot the most important part: a winning screenplay – * 1/2

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