Fri 9 Oct 2015
A few days ago I have seen the brand new ‘Black Mass’ which is also a mob story made in Hollywood and enjoying the participation of a fine cast. I was not enthusiastic. ‘Gangster Squad’ directed by Ruben Fleischer has the few ingredients that I was missing in that film, which make the genre ‘mob story inspired by real characters’ much more enjoyable to me. It does start with ‘inspired by a true story’ (or ‘true characters’), inserts the inevitable ‘true crime’ photos, and ends with the even more unavoidable text and pictures about the years spent in jail by the surviving bad guys, and the years happily spent fighting crime and raising kids by the good guys (those who survived, of course). In the middle it does better.
The story of ‘Gangster Squad’ is set in the post-war LA, and this certainly helps as the place and the period seems to gather interests because of the classical ‘noire’ thrillers that it inspired followed by a number of successful movies (starting with The Maltese Falcon, of course, set and filmed in 1941). The despicable bad guy’s name is Micky Cohen and his overtaking of the city could not (at least according to the script) be fought but by unconventional vigilante methods, because most of the police and judicial system was corrupted by hum. Find the right cops, motivated enough by having fought and survived WWII in order to build a world worth being lived by their kids, add the necessary dose of romantic, get a stunt master and a good choreographer for the fights and chases, and success is almost ensured.
The story may be more remote from the truth than in ‘Black Mass’, the capabilities of the squad in fights and shooting may seem overrated, but at the end of the day the result was more enjoyable for me. It certainly helped to have on board such a fine team of actors, including Sean Penn as the ultimate bad guy, ‘can’t do wrong’ Ryan Gosling, and beautiful Emma Stone who always seems to create around her a fascinating touch of mystery very appropriate in this movie. ‘Gangster Squad’ is a mob story that works and succeeds to be an entertaining film.