It’s challenging getting motivated to write about a flick like Gangster Squad, because I just don’t *care* that much. It’s not the great movie we all secretly hoped it would be on account of how it has Ryan Gosling & Anthony Mackie being beautiful in suits. It’s not the terrible movie we all secretly suspected it would be on account of its lowest-denominator title. It’s just meh.
Basically, you’re better off watching LA Confidential. I spent a lot of Gangster Squad wishing that’s what I was doing. Gangster Squad also spends a lot of time *thinking* it’s LA Confidential, especially at the bright, sunshiny end. It isn’t.
I also spent a lot of time trying to figure out where I knew Josh Brolin’s wife from. Answer: she was played by Mireille Enos of “The Killing”, who apparently is nearly unrecognizable when she’s allowed to occasionally smile and to wear something other than over-sized woolly sweaters.
So, whatever. The setup is that Josh Brolin is tasked with setting up a secret policeman club to take out Sean Penn. He sets it up (or really, his wife does, as she’s definitely the best character in the movie). They take him out. Woo.
That they are successful is amazing considering that no one involved (except, occasionally, Giovanni Ribisi) ever has a complex thought about anything. They don’t have any ethical qualms about operating wholly outside the law. They don’t have a plan beyond “show up with guns”. They stride confidently into a set-up so obvious it might as well have flashing neon signs. And then, after many, many bullets are shot quickly and in slow motion and through people as well as Christmas decorations, they find someone to, you know, testify against Our Head Gangster.
There’s also a chemistry-free romance between Emma Stone & Ryan Gosling, which is kind of amazing because who knew such a thing was even possible?
Finally, my biggest question coming out of the film was anatomical: Is that *really* what happens when you chain someone’s arms & legs to two cars & drive them in opposite directions? They are bisected? That is not what I expected, but I haven’t been in a science class for more years than I’d care to admit. So if anyone would like to explain that to me, that’d be great.