Thursday, January 10, 2013

My first cinema film review of the year is Gangster Squad, a bit of a throwback directed by Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland). The film deals with the Los Angeles Police Department's decision to set up a secret group of police, led by Sgt John O'Mara (Josh Brolin), to bring down gangster Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn). Gangster Squad is an old-fashioned film, feeling like an extended episode of Dragnet with violence but sometimes it's quite refreshing to see a film that's so out of kilter with contemporary mores. Brolin acquits himself well here as does Ryan Gosling, who plays fellow police officer Jerry Wooters, who becomes involved with Cohen's squeeze Grace Faraday (Emma Stone). The rest of the supporting cast include Robert Patrick (grizzled cop Max Kennard) and Giovanni Ribisi as boffin Officer Conway Keeler. Penn as Cohen is ridiculously over the top, complete with nose prosthetic, chewing the scenery and sometimes seems as if he's trying to take a bite out of the cast. Gangster Squad is no LA Confidential and if you're after subtlety, then you need to seek out something else. However it doesn't outstay its welcome, there are some enjoyable scenes, some decent performances and director Fleischer does a decent job with the pace. If you're after a cheesy slice of old-fashioned gangster fun, then you could do worse than check Gangster Squad out…

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