Gangster Squad Trailer Review: The Departed With More Hats?

Beyond the rather clichéd plot turns, the film doesn’t offer much indication that this could be a game changing, Oscar worthy period drama.

Whilst the summer kicks in to full swing with rain, inexplicably short shorts and monumental blockbuster films melting faces and stealing all our money, the €˜Oscar films€™ start their advertising campaigns so as to do their best job of slipping under the radar as the more unnoticed they go, the more awards they will win in the film industries annual Advertising Campaign (or Awards showcase, each to their own). The first of these? Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin and many other rugged looking men in "Gangster Squad", the true life chronicles of an €˜off the books€™ anti-mafia unit in the 1940€™s and 50€™s in Los Angeles. Their target? Sean Penn€™s grizzled, Irish sounding Mickey Cohen, a drug lord, a hooker lord, a crime lord and generally all round bad egg. If you haven€™t seen "The Departed" this could be quite a treat for you. If you have? Well...They do wear some nice hats. That€™s the first hurdle to get over with this film, the fact it has a very similar make up to "The Departed". A tyrannical crime lord, his team and a unit set up to destroy him. Sure it has less of Leonardo DiCaprio getting his head blown off, Matt Damon€™s OIRISH accent and Ray Winstone trying to over compensate for the fact he€™s really a cuddly pussy cat deep down. However once you get past this it does look like quite a compelling era crime piece which has no tonal similarities to "J. Edgar". Which is the essential makeup of any good, hat wearing film these days. Ryan Gosling seems to have grown out of his €˜moody, sullen teenager€™ acting phase of not talking and just looking desolately at his co-stars and is actually now conversing with humans, which may be a little mainstream for his acting tastes but at least now the viewer can go more than an hour without wanting to shake him until he does anything resembling a human emotion. Even if it is just to chat up Emma Stone (eye candy) and give one liners whilst he shoots people; it€™s rather exciting compared to his usual representation of a finely carved statue. However the true excitement from this trailer comes through the medium of Sean Penn, who seems to paint a harsh, believably tyrannical character in the short clips of Mickey Cohen that we see and looks like he could give a truly captivating performance. However sadly he isn€™t as fashionable as Ryan Gosling and the cuts always seem to veer in the direction of his well honed €˜man€™ features as opposed to showing the actual more interesting finer points of the film. In terms of content however, this looks like it€™s either playing victim to €˜let€™s put all of the action in the trailer so people don€™t think it€™s a dull talk fest€™, or it€™s a film centred mainly around the gun battles between the bad guys and the good guys, which is all well and good but not particularly winning for the whole €˜Serious, based on a true event, Sean Penn talking in an accent€™ Oscar fodder they want to achieve. The support cast again are left short changed, the only notable mention is Emma Stone who, as it is with all US cop capers, plays a female (naturally) who one of the other cast members has ill thought out sex with to add a Romeo + Juliet, female demographic appeasing angle to the testosterone heavy gun wielding bullet fest. Beyond the rather clichéd plot turns (cops above the law, ill thought out sex, plenty of hats) the film doesn€™t offer much indication that this could be a game changing, Oscar worthy period drama. Obviously it€™s ability to remain low key and look important will gain certain recognition and interest, but as of yet it does little to prove that it€™s going to be a stand out entry into a sure to be packed awards season. "Gangster Squad" will be released this year but currently doesn't have a firm release date set.
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One time I met John Stamos on a plane - and he told me I was pretty.