It's 1972 and the Mafia crime families are at war, but that isn't enough to stop a young, unknown John Gotti, who has big ideas and even bigger ambitions. In order to put an end to a two ... See full summary »
It's 1972 and the Mafia crime families are at war, but that isn't enough to stop a young, unknown John Gotti, who has big ideas and even bigger ambitions. In order to put an end to a two decades' conflict, Gotti pulls together an unlikely crew made up of one member from each crime family to pull off a silver bullion heist. If Gotti can keep these criminal misfits from killing each other and succeed with this problem-riddled heist he will secure himself a spot in mafia history. This gang of misfit gangsters, hijackers and wanna-bees, all in their late 20's, hang out playing cards at a gambling den known as the "Sinatra Club" owned by Crazy Salvatore Polisi, the narrator of our story. At the time, nobody is getting "made" because all the families are at war. What's worse, the bosses have no idea who John and his underlings are. Determined to make a name for himself, John masterminds a scheme that will either squash the beef among the five families or get him and his whole crew killed. ... Written by
With that heartfelt voice-over narration, those camera dissolves, and the song "Cara Mia", the final ten-minute segment has great thematic depth. "At The Sinatra Club" describes real people. I just wish the entire film had been as good as the ending.
A reformed criminal, Salvatore Polisi, whose story this is, and who narrates, gives us one day in his life many years ago as a youthful New York City hoodlum affiliated with the mob, and with John Gotti (Danny Nucci) in particular. In this twenty-four hour period, youthful Mafia dudes argue, verbally duel, clash, growl, pose, shoot the bull, scope each other out, and generally act tough as they prepare for a big heist, only hours away. The plot moves along as a countdown of hours left before the heist.
And most of the action takes place inside the Sinatra Club, a real club back in the early 70s. Too bad that we hear so few Sinatra songs.
The ensemble script is very talky. Dialogue is immense. And almost every other word comes from the four-letter-word dictionary. Coarse language is necessary to make these people seem real. But when such words are overused they distract. Still, these dudes are tough, not just tough talking. With them, every moment, every hour, every day becomes a matter of physical survival, rendered a little easier by guns and strong fists.
The main problems here are a plot that doesn't go anywhere, unappealing characters, too much dialogue, and a legitimate "my beloved" theme that doesn't come through until those final ten minutes. All of which relate to the film's script, which may have been constrained by budget. Danny Nucci gives a fine performance as a young John Gotti. Costumes, sets, and cinematography are fine.
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