Gangster movie with Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone Discuss this article
Drawing heavily on the audience’s familiarity with the era, Gangster Squad is a slick, very violent and entirely unconvincing recreation of seedy, post-war Hollywood. The plot is essentially The Untouchables goes west. Josh Brolin plays John O’Mara, the square-jawed, clean living cop tasked with bringing down the operation of gangland kingpin Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn, channelling Al Pacino). John forms a task force, hauling in interestingly named pal Jerry Wooters (Gosling) who, unknown to O’Mara, is having an affair with Cohen’s squeeze Grace (Stone).
Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer keeps things moving at a breakneck pace, resulting in a handful of enjoyably pacy action sequences, but lots of head-scratching plot holes. And despite some immersive period design, the visuals possess a bland, digital sheen.
Given the cast and subject matter Gangster Squad was never going to be a total washout. But it’s fatally ersatz, never coming close to recapturing the spirit and intensity of the films and novels it imitates, let alone the vibrant historical period it aims to evoke.
Time Out Doha,