9
Mar
2013
Brief: Gangster Squad
Gangster Squad
Jordan
This movie is incredibly misconceived from the get go. It wants to be a slick, stylish noir throwback, but it feels like its written by a high schooler with only the vaguest idea of what real noir looks and sounds like. Ryan Gosling is fun, but mostly because he seems to recognize how awful the dialogue he's being given is, and Emma Stone is woefully underused, playing the moll sleeping with both Gosling and Sean Penn. I actually think she could have done something with the role, but its so thin, all she gets to do is look sultry. Josh Brolin is a wet noodle, and Sean Penn is in full scene-chewing mode. What is perhaps most frustrating is the film's utter ignorance of its largest hypocrisy: its a movie about WWII vets, returning from fighting fascism abroad only to join a fly-by-night Gestapo whose tactics make those of their enemy look tame by comparison. This is a vapid, empty film, more interested in seeing how much violence it can fit in 100 minutes than in telling an actual story with any thematic resonance or emotional pay-offs. Seriously, if I didn't recognize so many of the faces, I would think this was a high school production of the sort Max Fischer in Rushmore would've loved to put on; it feels more like a bunch of sugar-fueled pre-teens playing dress up than the sort of noir Hollywood should be releasing. Really, really not surprising this one got shifted to the January doldrums. It deserved to be ignored.


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