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Gangster Squad

7/10
Crime . Drama . Action . Thriller
 

Los Angeles, 1949. Ruthless, Brooklyn-born mob king Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) runs the show in this town, reaping the ill-gotten gains from the drugs, the guns, the prostitutes and — if he has his way — every wire bet placed west of Chicago. And he does it all with the protection of not only his own paid goons, but also the police and the politicians who are under his control. It’s enough to intimidate even the bravest, street-hardened cop… except, perhaps, for the small, secret crew of LAPD outsiders led by Sgt. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) and Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling), who come together to try to tear Cohen’s world apart.

 
Actors: Sean Penn , Ryan Gosling , Emma Stone , Josh Brolin , Nick Nolte , Giovanni Ribisi , Josh Pence , Frank Grillo , Anthony Mackie , Robert Patrick , Holt McCallany , Wade Williams , James Landry Hébert
Directors: Ruben Fleischer
Country: USA
Release: 2013-01-11
More Info:
  • Roger Moore

    Gangster Squad is a gang war drama built on Western conventions, a rootin' tootin', Camel-smokin', whiskey swillin' shoot'em up.

    McClatchy-Tribune News Service Full Review
  • Rex Reed

    The best thing about Gangster Squad is how they got the 1940s accoutrements right.

    New York Observer Full Review
  • Peter Debruge

    The cops play things as dirty as the crooks in Gangster Squad, an impressively pulpy underworld-plunger that embellishes on a 1949 showdown between a dedicated team of LAPD officers and Mob-connected Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) for control of the city.

    Variety Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    Penn's over-the-top tirades and bullying threats are still there - it's a wild and woolly performance that isn't always as menacing as perhaps the actor intended it to be.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    Gangster Squad provides a welcome burst of heat and color, even if those qualities are more illusory than real and subject to a fast fade.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Peter Bradshaw

    For all the guns and gore, it's as breezy and uncritical as a tale from the True Detective magazine that the cops can't help reading.

    The Guardian Full Review
  • Elizabeth Weitzman

    Instead of expanding their sights, Fleischer and Beall narrow them, into a repetitive and increasingly exhausting series of shootouts. By the end, those guns might as well be held by extras, rather than some of the most talented actors of our time.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    Made up of synthetics rather than whole cloth, this lurid concoction superficially gets by thanks to a strong cast and jazzy period detail, but its cartoonish contrivances fail to convince and lack any of the depth, feeling or atmosphere of genre stand-bearers like "L.A. Confidential."

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • James Mottram

    Typified by Penn's blustery performance, Gangster Squad is sleek, stylish but superficial. Easy on the eye, even easier on the brain, it doesn't last long in the memory.

    Total Film Full Review
  • Nick de Semlyen

    Sean Penn's not been this fun since Jeff Spicoli and there's plenty of rip-roaring action, but Gangster Squad proves a minor entry in the annals of LA noir.

    Empire Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    Penn is always entertaining when he's playing characters drunk with depravity. Gangster Squad could use more of him.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Rick Groen

    The irony is worth noting: Back when it was really 1949, Hollywood made noir with teeth; this is nougat with pretensions.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Connie Ogle

    It's the cinematic equivalent of Bon Jovi's You Give Love a Bad Name: You know in your heart it's a crappy song, and every wince-inducing line is an affront to your intelligence, but hey, it's on the radio, so you turn up the volume and sing along anyway.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Lou Lumenick

    A cartoonish 1940s shoot-'em-up that's impossible to take seriously.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    Josh Brolin plays the leader of the gangster squad as a kind of dedicated dunce, which is appropriate considering their clumsy antics. Ryan Gosling has more nuance as his right-hand man, but Emma Stone is completely out of her element as a slinky film noir heroine, a walking anachronism.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Claudia Puig

    In the last five minutes the film shifts gears and offers a tribute to law enforcement. But this tacked-on resolution is as sticky and fake as Sean Penn's make-up job.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Andrew O'Hehir

    As a capable imitation of better movies by Martin Scorsese, Brian DePalma and Roman Polanski – it's reasonably successful entertainment.

    Salon.com Full Review
  • Wesley Morris

    Gangster Squad is an almost movie. It's almost terrible. It's almost entertaining. But it's missing the shameless insanity of a wonderfully bad movie, and the particular vision, point of view, and coherence of some very good ones. So it sits there in between - loud, flashy, and unnecessary.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    A triumph of production design but a pretty dull kill-'em-up otherwise.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Louis Black

    Despite the unrelenting action and the terrific cast, Gangster Squad comes up more scattered than successful.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    It never really comes together in a satisfying way, and given the talent involved, that adds up to a big disappointment.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Roger Ebert

    To be fair, this tawdry dose of pulp fiction ("inspired by real events") is not a complete waste of time. It offers the marginal pleasure of an all-star cast slumming their way through a thicket of routine plotting, almost laughable dialogue and the constant blaze of tommy guns.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Owen Gleiberman

    Brolin and Gosling are both supposed to be playing World War II veterans who bring their knowledge of battle into the tough turf of the streets, but that's just a concept that the sketchy, half-baked script tosses out there.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Stephanie Zacharek

    The violence is so indifferently presented that it has no kick; it’s not grim or graphic enough to shock, but it doesn’t rev us up, either. The picture’s various shoot-’em-up sequences are so generically conceived and shot that each one is indistinguishable from the next – by the movie’s end, they may as well all collapse into an exhausted heap.

    Film.com Full Review
  • Marc Mohan

    Very few will remember it in a few months, which is probably just fine with the folks who made it.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    The period thriller Gangster Squad plays like an untalented 12-year-old's imitation of Brian DePalma's "The Untouchables."

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Betsy Sharkey

    The soul of the era is missing, and with it any reason to care. In Fleischer's hands, the high-stakes shootouts are as stylish as a GQ spread, but it's nearly impossible to figure out who's zoomin' who.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Keith Uhlich

    Though based partly on actual events, Ruben Fleischer's ludicrous shoot-'em-up plays fast and loose with the facts, and plenty else besides.

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • Ann Hornaday

    Slick, sick, self-consciously stylish and defiantly shallow, Gangster Squad is one of those movies you can't talk about without invoking other (often better) movies. A lot of movies.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Lawrence Toppman

    It begins as energetic, clichéd nonsense and ends as irritating, clichéd nonsense.

    Charlotte Observer Full Review
  • Nathan Rabin

    Gangster Squad aims for the pop-operatic intensity of "The Untouchables," but ends up feeling like a savage, simple-minded comic strip.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    Mr. Beall, a former LAPD cop, has written a script so devoid of feeling that the cartoons blur into thin line drawings, while what's been done with the marvelous Ms. Stone - i.e. next to nothing - is downright criminal.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Nick Pinkerton

    The proximity of horrible headlines scarcely matters - released on any day of any calendar year, Gangster Squad would be a crime against cinematic sensibility.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    This movie made my ears hurt. Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and James Ellroy could have turned this pulp into insinuating jazz. What's here is a cartoonish bore.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Charlie Schmidlin

    In lieu of any sharp insight into the period and its notorious figures, the film's brash, ultraviolent encounters instead build a showy exterior with nothing of import left standing.

    The Playlist Full Review
  • Glenn Heath Jr.

    Ruben Fleischer's film is a perfect example of Hollywood hypocrisy, something to be ignored diligently.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • A.O. Scott

    His (Fleischer) first feature, "Zombieland," was a half-witty genre parody. This one might be described as genre zombie-ism: the hysterical, brainless animation of dead clichés reduced to purposeless, compulsive killing. Too self-serious to succeed as pastiche, it has no reason for being beyond the parasitic urge to feed on the memories of other, better movies.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Anthony Lane

    The over-all result is a misstep for Fleischer. [21 Jan. 2013, p. 78]

    The New Yorker Full Review
Add Soundtrack
  • 1. The Hills of California Performer: Johnny Mercer and The Pied Pipers ft. Paul Weston & His Orchestra Stream Music Online
  • 18. Chica Chica Boom Chic Performer: Sharmila Guha and The Gangster Squad Movie Band Stream Music Online
  • 23. The Hills of California (feat. Paul Weston & his Orchestra) Performer: Johnny Mercer and The Pied Pipers & Paul Weston & his Orchestra Stream Music Online
  • 24. Early Autumn (feat. The Living Sisters) Performer: St. Vincent & The Living Sisters Stream Music Online
  • 25. Bless You (For the Good Thats In You) [feat. Mel Tormé] Performer: Peggy Lee Stream Music Online
  • 28. Bless You (For the Good That's In You) [feat. Mel Tormé] Performer: Peggy Lee Stream Music Online

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  • los angeles

  • gangster

  • good versus evil

  • machine gun

  • police vigilantism

  • year 1949

  • mobster

  • lapd

  • violence

  • boxer

  • pregnant wife

  • corruption

  • judge

  • murder

  • extreme violence

  • killed in police car

  • police officer shot

  • police officer knocked unconscious

  • thompson sub machine gun

  • sledgehammer

  • police raid

  • killed in an elevator

  • drive by shooting

  • police badge

  • ends with narration

  • ends with biographical notes

  • reference to claude rains

  • pump action shotgun

  • roulette

  • nightclub shootout

  • card game

  • police officer killed

  • shooting range

  • love triangle

  • silencer

  • neck breaking

  • garrote

  • head butt

  • interrogation

  • torture

  • informant

  • threatened with a knife

  • gasoline

  • barn

  • fire

  • restaurant

  • prostitute

  • brothel

  • money laundering

  • wisecrack humor

  • target practice

  • black cop

  • falling down stairs

  • beaten to death

  • martial arts

  • hand to hand combat

  • stylized violence

  • anti hero

  • car crash

  • hand grenade

  • assassination attempt

  • showdown

  • maid

  • deception

  • accidental killing

  • child murder

  • gunslinger

  • police corruption

  • freeze frame

  • jail break

  • prison

  • swimming pool

  • handcuffs

  • arrest

  • rifle

  • airport

  • crime boss

  • newspaper headline

  • news report

  • crime scene

  • childbirth

  • media coverage

  • premarital sex

  • cigarette lighter

  • cigar smoking

  • revenge

  • machismo

  • dual wield

  • revolver

  • gatling gun

  • wiretapping

  • electronics expert

  • tough cop

  • knife

  • maverick cop

  • torso cut in half

  • attempted rape

  • undercover cop

  • exploding body

  • exploding truck

  • bodyguard

  • lawyer

  • voice over narration

  • camera

  • gang violence

  • g man

  • sex in bed

  • redhead

  • kiss

  • femme fatale

  • police detective hero

  • hero

  • neo noir

  • police officer

  • police shootout

  • street shootout

  • hitman

  • 1940s

  • tough guy

  • action hero

  • no opening credits

  • fountain

  • villain arrested

  • pulp fiction

  • male in bathtub

  • brutality

  • slow motion scene

  • fistfight

  • death

  • gore

  • blood

  • reference to mickey mouse

  • pistol whip

  • drill in the head

  • organized crime

  • knife in hand

  • knife in the chest

  • mob boss

  • hit with a chair

  • person on fire

  • beating

  • acid

  • casino

  • dog

  • mansion

  • reference to frank sinatra

  • world war two veteran

  • ambush

  • burning money

  • eavesdropping

  • grenade

  • car chase

  • witness

  • shot in the back

  • shot in the stomach

  • christmas

  • chinatown los angeles

  • heroin

  • drug dealer

  • murder of a police officer

  • bare chested male

  • ex soldier

  • bar

  • title appears in writing

  • title spoken by narrator

  • strangulation

  • shootout

  • impalement

  • knife throwing

  • husband wife relationship

  • home invasion

  • masked man

  • robbery gone awry

  • character repeating someone else's dialogue

  • corrupt cop

  • lens flare

  • exploding car

  • explosion

  • burned alive

  • finger gun

  • shot to death

  • shot in the leg

  • shot in the shoulder

  • shot in the chest

  • shot in the forehead

  • shot in the head

  • hollywood california

  • brawl

  • punched in the face

  • police chief

  • police detective

  • police sergeant

  • man slaps a woman

  • pimp

  • hotel

  • shotgun

  • pistol

  • tommy gun

  • red dress

  • cigarette smoking

  • nightclub

  • burbank california

  • blood splatter

  • torn in half

  • police station

  • los angeles police department

  • two word title

  • mafia

  • los angeles california

  • death of father

  • death of friend

  • death of child

  • based on true story

  • based on book

  • title spoken by character

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