By Kyra Smith-Cullen
April 18, 2013
Los Angeles returns to its corrupt, organized crime roots of the 1940s in the historical action film ‘Gangster Squad,’ where the plot is predictable but the violence is realistic.
The movie focuses on police officer John O’Mara, a war veteran who wants to restore justice to a corrupt town. O’Mara agrees to lead a team of unofficial lawmen to ruin crime boss Mickey Cohen. His small group attempt to return L.A. to its more peaceful days for the sake of their families, memories, or vengeance.
While the plot is intriguing and keeps the audience’s attention, it lends itself to few surprises. One of the best parts is the way they build up to the climax, allowing the audience to catch glimpses of Cohen’s anger and growing desperation between witnessing the way the team’s camaraderie grows. By the end of the film, I wanted them to succeed and step into the light as L.A.’s heroes, even if I thought they wouldn’t. It was a lot more than just explosions and blood.
Speaking of which, director Ruben Fleischer did an excellent job with the amount of violence and gore that he used. It was obvious that “Gangster Squad” is marketed towards men. However, it isn’t overdone – graphic, but not overdone. Equally realistic are the costumes and setting, transporting the audience back to the post-war city.
Brolin, as O’Mara, makes an excellent rough lawman with a heart of gold. There are parts in the movie where his interaction with kids and his wife are immensely touching. But what really steals the show for me was the chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Whenever the pair were on screen together, it was hard to take my eyes off of them. They acted like they belonged in the dark glamour of the 40s.
In summation, “Gangster Squad” is great if you’re looking for a movie where action is constant and romance is waiting in the wings. It earns even more points if you’re willing to overlook predictability in favor of realism in several aspects.