The last good gangster movie that made much success in recent years was Public Enemies, set in Chicago, the traditional gangster setting. But Gangster Squad adds the Hollywood Flare in more ways than one. Set in LA in the 1940’s Gangster Squad is based on the real-life story of the secret task force of LAPD cops who formed the Gangster Squad Unit to take down Mickey Cohen and his stranglehold on the city.
The gangster squad unit is started by John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) and is subsequently joined by four other detectives (played by Anthony Mackie, Giovanni Ribisi, Michael Peña and Robert Patrick) the squad gains it’s final reluctant member after a hit on Mickey Cohen’s illegal casino goes wrong in Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling). Throw in Emma Stone as the typical female character in these sorts of films, the bad girl, turned damsel in distress when she gets caught up in the cross-fire between the two sides and you’ve got your stereotypical story that doesn’t do all that much to enrich the mind.
In saying that, the visuals are appealing and it is a nicely shot film. There’s a lot of colour that gangster films tend to leave out. This can probably be attributed to this film being set in LA, where the life was a little more glamourous than the windy city. Perfect example of the appealing and colourful visuals can be seen when Emma Stone is on the screen… y’know… just as a reference.
Overall the movie has a somewhat interesting story line but you only really feel connections to some of the minor characters when their lives are in danger (a young boy and a pregnant woman), you don’t feel much for the main characters… even the ones they spend time on making sure you realise that they have a family and that they are putting them in danger as well. It just didn’t do it for me. But it looked pretty.