Gangster Squad brings life to cliche crime films

“Gangster Squad” was an excellent combination of action and old-time romance.  Director Ruben Fleischer brilliantly brings the 1950s Los Angeles crime world to life.  The movie features Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.

In the 1950s, Los Angeles was the new frontier for organized crime.  The mafia bosses of Chicago and New York City were starting to be seen as old-fashioned, fat and lazy.  Mickey Cohen is the newest gangster on the block.

He has laid claim to the city of LA, challenging the Eastern crime world and ruling his new empire with violence.  Eventually his bribes and arrogance catch the attention of the LAPD and the “Gangster Squad” is formed.   The movie follows the actions of the Gangster Squad as they attempt to corral Mickey and gain trust and cohesion as a group.

Aside from a graphic first scene, “Gangster Squad” was a refreshing change from some of the blood squirting, epic movies that have come out recently.  While still violent, the entire plot seemed a little bit more elegant than a simple action oriented “shoot ‘em up” film.  The time period certainly leant itself to this.  The 50s were a cultured and affluent time, full of tailored clothes, beautiful manners, flashy night clubs and fancy cars.  Fans of the HBO show Mad Men will love the atmosphere of “Gangster Squad.”

The cast does a great job bringing the different characters to life.  Josh Brolin plays John O’Mara, a former military man and the perfect gruff police sergeant who quietly leads his men through danger.

Sean Penn is his worthy opponent as the tough and ruthless Mickey Cohen, a man who has his sights set on owning the entire LA underworld.

Jerry Wooters (O’Mara’s right hand man) is a witty, confident, and well-dressed womanizer–everything that Ryan Gosling should be.  Emma Stone is the quiet and lovely Grace Faraday, the etiquette tutor and sometimes girlfriend of Mickey Cohen.

I’m the type of person that appreciates a realistic movie.  I don’t go for overly fantastic and or unreasonable plots.  “Gangster Squad” is perfect for anyone who enjoys an exciting story from a wild time in American history.  And with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in the same movie, what could possibly go wrong?