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Audiences Robbed by “Gangster Squad”

Penn. Gosling. Stone. 1940’s Hollywood gangsters. What could be better?

Well, not falling into tired mob cliches and well-written characters would be a start.

Gangster Squad” features a star-studded cast in the corrupt world of Los Angeles in 1949. Mob King Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) runs the city with his best gal (Emma Stone) at his side. Josh Brolin, as Sgt. John O’Mara, is an honest cop who puts together a secret group of officers (including Ryan Gosling and Robert Patrick) ordered to take down Cohen by any means necessary.

The trailers promised a very stylized gangster movie and that’s what I got. With the cast involved though, I expected a little bit more.

All the characters are very one-note and not given much depth. Penn’s villain especially falls flat and is your stereotypical mobster you’ve seen a hundred times before. Penn can act. He’s pretty good at it. Here, he’s just a common crook.

gangster-squad-emma-stone-ryan-goslingStone’s character is equally one-dimensional. It could have been any young, pretty actress. I know this is a period movie so she can’t be all Emma Stone-y with her comedic delivery and one-liners but please give the girl a little depth to work with. Listening to her speak in nothing but cheesy 1940’s slang just comes off corny.

Gosling’s character is the only one who is really given a turning point as a character. Gosling is a great actor and I love him in everything, but all these actors have talent and I wish they’d been given more to work with. Stone and Gosling, who had great chemistry in “Crazy. Stupid. Love,” don’t feel as connected here.

I enjoyed the style and the cinematography made it a nice film to watch. The rich colors and vibrant lights make it a very pretty movie. And the movie moves along at a nice pace. Where it goes though is predictable.

I didn’t expect the amount of violence in the film. That’s not a bad thing, it was just a lot more graphic than I’ve seen in similar mob movies. Getting someone get riddled with bullets from a tommy gun is one thing, but to watch a body get ripped in half by two cars is another.

“Gangster Squad” is a mediocre movie that wasted it’s talent. It could have been so much more but the audience was robbed of a higher quality film.

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