Gangster Squad is a movie that I have been eagerly anticipating ever since its announcement. Going into the New Year it’s safe to say it was definitely one of the few films I was really looking forward to and thankfully it didn’t disappoint.

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Set in 1949 Los Angeles, a secret crew of police officers led by two determined sergeant’s work together in an effort to take down ruthless mob boss Mickey Cohen, who has made the city his own.

Going into Gangster Squad I had been informed that the movie was based on a true story, but obviously not knowing anything about this story I can’t really confirm how authentic the movie is, but what I can confirm is that it is pure entertainment throughout its entire duration, despite what various critics have been saying.

The thing that left me anticipating this movie so much was the cast, after all with a line-up that includes the likes of Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin and Emma Stone I think you have to set your expectations rather high and as I previously stated mine were certainly matched as everyone in this film is on fine form. It is extremely difficult to say who gives the defining performance in this picture as there are three in particular that really stand out: Gosling, Penn and Brolin. The three are easily A-list stars in their own right and although I’ve heard complaints about Sean Penn’s ‘cartoonish’ portrayal as Mickey Cohen I have to disagree as I though Penn showed many signs of brilliance with his performance. Don’t get me wrong I admit there were a few lines of dialogue that were slightly cringey here and there, but I don’t think one or two lines really affect the overall product, as the overall product happens to be very sleek and very stylish.

The various cast members all have a very strong chemistry on set and this is instantly recognisable from an audience perspective, as to me at times it felt like I was watching a toned down version of Marvel’s Avengers. In a sense it is slightly in the same vein as a superhero movie. You’ve got the good guys going up against the bad guys and in general Gangster Squad is a very fun movie, and that’s why I watch movies to be entertained and its evidently clear from my reaction to this film I was entertained.

If you go into this movie expecting a gangster movie in the same vein as Goodfellas or The Godfather then obviously you’re going to be disappointed, as this film is not your typical gangster movie. In all fairness it’s more of a shoot ‘em up, which is understandable as it is from the same director as Zombieland.

The design of this movie is stunning. Everything from the outfits to the sets all blend in with the image this movie wants to set perfectly. As a period movie it’s faultless yet at the same time it also feels strangely modern, but in a good way. The music and even the actors all manage to blend simultaneously with the movie and going back to the characters I have to say I really did connect with them. At times I found myself wanting the cops to win when they were going up against the gangsters and when you feel a connection to the characters like that, then you know the film is doing something right.

Overall I think Gangster Squad is a very underrated movie. It’s beautifully designed and features some excellent performances from its various cast members, making Gangster Squad not only a successful gangster movie, but also a successful cop movie as well as being a darn good action film too and although it probably won’t stay this way for long, it’s my favourite film of the year so far.

8.5/10

1 comment

  • Does every film review have to start “Our 16-year-old film blogger” Jack is obviously doing a good job on his own merit. Does his age matter? Why not just use his name?

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    Josh Helling

    Monday, January 14, 2013

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