Directed by Ruben Fleischer
On release from 10th January 2013
Showing at , Wood
Street till 31st Jan 2013
Vacuous and full of mindless violence, directed by Ruben Fleischer, the
film is still worth seeing. Beautifully shot in vibrant colour and with
much attention to period detail and costumes to match, there is a lot
for the eye to feast on.
Although based on a true story the plot is hopelessly skewed to the improbable:
a covert group of elite cops led by ex-army and now an incorruptible police
Sergeant John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) is tasked by steadfast Commissioner
(Nick Nolte) with dismantling the criminal organisation of sadistic Cosa
Nostra rising star, Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn).
The hand- picked team, a sort of modern day Magnificent Seven, (six men
and O’Mara’s pregnant wife), clumsily and ineptly at first,
take on the bourgeoning gangster empire. They hone their skills as more
successful forays against the prostitution, drugs and gambling rackets
drive the ex- featherweight champion into paroxysms of brutality against
his own failing lieutenants.
The paradox of good fighting evil to save 1949 Los Angeles is that the
team cause as much damage to the city’s art deco infrastructure
as the machine-gun toting mob ranged against them. The brains of the group
is homely family man and proto-surveillance expert (Ribisi). He bugs Cohen’s
TV set enabling the overheard discussions to be acted on.
Cohen suspects a rat when a money storage unit is burnt to the ground
and he realises it is not his East Coast counterparts who are undermining
him but the law. Suspecting everyone, including his classy moll (Emma
Stone) who is two-timing with Squad chancer (RyanGosling), the charismatic
front man of Slapsie Maxies takes the hit for her as Cohen sets up a China
Town sting of his own which has disastrous consequences.
More in the tradition of Batman than Elliot Ness the finale sees the
hero overcome insuperable odds enabling the good folk of LA to turn their
minds to every day concerns.
Nice picturesque credits accompanied by Steve Jablonsky’s empathic
soundtrack add to the spectacle. It was never like this, but it’s
a mesmerising watch in many ways.