Gangster Squad – Gangsters By Numbers

Prior to Gangster Squad,  I hadn’t found a Ryan Gosling movie I didn’t like. Predictably, I loved The Notebook and Crazy Stupid Love – like most of the female population – but I also liked Half Nelson, Fracture and Murder by Numbers. Because while there’s no doubt Gosling is easy on the eye, it’s his quiet, understated acting which has always held my attention. Unfortunately, there is nothing quiet or understated about Gangster Squad and despite Gosling and Josh Brolin’s valiant attempts to salvage the film, Sean Penn destroys it as his character Micky rampages through scenes doing a really really bad impression of Robert De Niro in Raging Bull doing Marlon Brando in On The Waterfront. It’s a film of two halves – part dumb comic book style western, part man on a crusade to save his town and find his purpose.There are a couple of scenes where there’s only Brolin and Gosling on screen and you get a glimpse of the film Gangster Squad could have been, had someone told Sean Penn to take it down a notch, or ten. It’s not all bad – the gun sequences are entertaining, there’s some early Bond-style humour “you know the drill” and Emma Stone looks fabulous, albeit whilst not having been given much of anything to do other than be seduced by Gosling’s ‘Bible salesman’ – tough job. But with such an impressive cast I was really disappointed and somewhat bored by Gangster Squad.

2 Stars

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