Cast: Sgt. John O'Mara (Josh Brolin), Sgt. Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling), Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn), Bill Parker (Nick Nolte), Grace Faraday (Emma Stone), Coleman Harris (Anthony Mackie), Conway Keeler (Giovanni Ribisi), Max Kennard (Robert Patrick), Navidad Ramirez (Michael Peņa), Connie O'Mara (Mireille Enos)
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Theatrical release: 01/11/2013
DVD Date: 04/23/2013
Running Time: 113 minutes
Note(s): Screenplay by Will Beall and adapted from the book Gangster Squad by Paul Lieberman.
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Review: Gangster Squad is one of those movies that probably won't meet your expectations, whatever they may be. I went in not expecting much, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It has a polished look to it that shines over the really quite pedestrian script.
Based on the book of the same title by Paul Lieberman, the plot is a simple one. Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) has arrived in 1949 post-war Los Angeles expecting to run not only the city but the entire west coast. The film opens with Mickey sending a message to the Chicago gang that has designs on the city, ripping the arms off a guy and having his cohort watch. The act is more imaginary than explicit, and fairly typical of the violence in the film … of which there is considerable, but probably considerably less than you'd expect. The Chief of Police (Nick Nolte) recruits police sergeant John O'Mara (Josh Brolin) to assemble an "off the books" team to take Mickey down. A game of one-upsmanship follows, with each side trying to eliminate the other.
In addition to the good look of the film, the supporting cast plays just as much into the operation as the main one. Mireille Enos, for example, has a minor role playing O'Mara's wife, who rejects all of her husband's picks for the team, assembling a group that she says — and she's right — will do the job more productively. It is this team that the film follows, at first bumbling around, but gaining traction after police sergeant Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling) joins the squad.
There are more than a few eye-rolling moments, particularly with respect to Wooter's relationship with Mickey's girl (Emma Stone), but on balance I enjoyed Gangster Squad enough to give it a mild recommendation. It's not a great film, but it is an entertaining one.
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