Getting its name and motivation from a actual LAPD function that fought structured criminal activity during the Forties and '50s, the new movie "Gangster Squad" dramatizes the tale of Sgt. David O'Mara (played by Josh Brolin) and his squad's campaign against the interloping Eastern Shore hoodlum Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn).
Given no cost control to fold (and break) the guidelines by the cops primary, O'Mara and his men (played by He Gosling, David Meat, Anthony Mackie and others) take no blows when going after scammers. Unfortunately for the team, movie experts aren't taking it simple on the movie either, with most opinions characterizing it as fashionable but superficial.
The Times' Betsy Sharkey says "Gangster Squad" originally reveals guarantee, with a "swell cast" (which also contains Emma Rock as Cohen's dame), "a lot of fluorescent and noir-ish flash" from movie director Ruben Fleischer ("Zombieland"), and a program by Will Beall loaded "with interval information, assault and the kind of pithy collections you'd anticipate bruisers to be spitting out in the Nineteen fifties."
But "the spirit of the era is losing, and with it any purpose to care," Sharkey says, including, "The movie easily falls into something nearer to a 'Law & Order' step-by-step."
The Birkenstock boston Planet's Wesley Morris brands "Gangster Squad" "an almost movie." He explains: "It's almost interesting. But it's losing the shameless madness of a fantastically bad movie, and the particular perspective, perspective, and coherence of some very excellent ones. So it rests there in between — noisy, fancy, and needless." And despite the skilled throw, Morris contributes, "Fleischer seems to have remaining them all to determine how to remain in the same movie."
A.O. Scott of the New You are able to Periods creates that " 'Gangster Squad' is less a movie than a outfit celebration run uncontrolled … a stressful jumble of fedoras and zoot matches, tights and tobacco, and red femme-fatale outfits." Being "too self-serious to be successful as pastiche," Scott contributes, the movie "has no purpose for being beyond the parasitic desire to nourish on the reminiscences of other, better films."
Scott isn't the only writer to evaluate "Gangster Squad" unfavorably to its predecessors; Ann Hornaday of the California Publish is another. She creates, "Slick, fed up, self-consciously fashionable and certainly superficial, 'Gangster Squad' is one of those films you cannot discuss without invoking other (often better) films. A lot of films." (Among them are "L.A. Confidential" "The Untouchables," "Chinatown" and even "Dick Tracy.")
Salon's Andrew O'Hehir has an intriguing take on the film, which he initially describes as "reasonably successful entertainment" and "by the standards of midwinter Hollywood releases, not bad at all." More damning, however, and more interesting, is that O'Hehir goes on to blast the film as "a complete whitewashing of one of the most vicious and racist paramilitary organizations in American history: the Los Angeles Police Department." With its simplistic take on Los Angeles history, O'Hehir says, the film qualifies as "lazy and mendacious soft propaganda."
Among the somewhat scarce positive reviews of the film, Variety's Peter Debruge calls it "an impressively pulpy underworld-plunger." Some "over-the-top" action notwithstanding, "every creative decision seems to be in service of telling the most entertaining possible story, backed by first-rate wardrobe and art contributions."