Warner Bros are about to embark on a resurgence of the period gangster movie, the genre that the studio was built on in the 30′s and 40′s. The playground that James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart and Edward G. Robinson played in so regularly and to so much success with classic movies like “White Heat” and “Angels With Dirty Faces” among dozens of others.
They have several scripts in development right now for tommy gunn filled rat-a-tat-tat movies, including one intriguing prospect of a movie trilogy about the life of the notorious Al Capone that would star Tom Hardy for Harry Potter director David Yates. But that movie, as well as others they are plotting, will probably be dependent on the success of their first period gangster out of the blocks, “Gangster Squad”.
The forthcoming movie is based on Paul Lieberman’s series of articles in the L.A. Times some years ago concerning the ‘off-the-record’ and questionable L.A.P.D. of the 1940′s and their influence from the East Coast Mafia. The heart of the movie is their chase against gangster Mickey Cohen, a violent muscle man for Chicago’s notorious criminal Al Capone. Former L.A. cop Will Beall fleshed out the articles into a screenplay that after an exhaustive director’s search, WB finally chose “Zombieland” and “30 Minutes or Less” director Ruben Fleischer to helm.
An all-star cast was brought together featuring; Sean Penn as Mickey Cohen, Ryan Gosling as Jerry Wooters, the man tasked with taking him down, and Emma Stone as Jean, a femme fatale blabbermouth who is in the middle of a love triangle between the two enemies.
Josh Brolin also stars as John O’Mara, one of the few honest cops in L.A and who is on the task force to take Cohen down, The Killing’s Mirielle Enos is his wife. Anthony Mackie plays Rocky Washington the first black cop in the LAPD and is also on the team. Giovanni Ribisi is Conway Keeler the electronics expert. Michael Pena is officer Navidad Ramirez and Robert Patrick is an officer from Texas. Nick Nolte is Bill Parker, the man who brings them all together.
An October 12th release date was given and all looked good for the picture until WB decided Ben Affleck’s middle-east thriller “Argo” should take that slot which worked so well for his contemporary gangster movie “The Town” (ironically a director who first turned down “Gangster Squad”) and we started to wonder just what had happened to this movie when no new date was given.
We still don’t exactly know when “Gangster Squad” will find its way in cinemas but we do know WB haven’t forgotten about the movie as they have just dropped a trailer for it today…
You can watch the Apple trailer HERE.
Our reaction to it? Well, a sense of huge disappointment and missed opportunity. We were hoping for something more along the lines of a straight period noir like “LA Confidential” but instead we have been served a jacked up, highly kinetic movie that indulges in CGI shots, camera swoops and contemporary style movement, acting and music. This is very much a Ruben Fleischer production, a movie you would expect from the guy who delivered “Zombieland’ but we can’t help but wish he had changed his style for this movie, as the tone just feels all over the place and disjointed.
The movie looks a tough sell. Part action film, part period drama and has left us scratching our heads as to why Jay-Z’s music is blaring out of our speakers to sell this kind of movie.
The acting, the style, the tone, everything feels off. Ryan Gosling looks all over the place in this trailer and kinda hard to read what he is trying to pull off that isn’t Grindhouse-like. Though we do have to admit our interest in seeing what Sean Penn does with this Mickey Cohen performance will probably keep us going.
No word on when “Gangster Squad” will be released outside of “Coming Soon” but we imagine our confusion over what the film is translates to the studio who don’t know if this is an October prestigious effort or a summer blockbuster. If you ask me it is in danger of not being either…
What do you think of the trailer?