The gangster movie occupies a pretty traditional place in the cinematic lexicon. In terms of story, there's not a vast amount of air between Goodfellas and the Godfather, between Mean Streets and Miller's Crossing - and Infernal Affairs and The Departed are practically the same film.
Now, these genre touchstones may well be in place for a reason. They're the mise en scène of these movies, the plot points, archetypes and grace notes that provide a shorthand to tell the story and a shortcut for audiences to become invested in those stories. But after watching dozens and dozens of films with the same imagery, the same symbolism, the same stereotypes and the same damaged, violent protagonists, any kind of a change is a welcome one. That's why it's heartening when you come across a film that takes those well worn tropes and stabs them in the eyes, dressing them as clowns and mailing them to minor celebrities.
To put it another way: these movies range from odd, surreal little chamber pieces to outlandish, grand guignol splatterpunk to Lynchian headf*cks to kiddie musicals, for the love of god.
These gangster movies will screw with your equilibrium and mess with your brain - and as usual, here be spoilers...