It's 1949 Los Angeles, and gangster Mickey Cohen has moved in, with the intention of controlling all criminal activity in the city. He has bought local judges and police, and no one is willing to cross him or testify against him. Everyone except Seargant John O'Mara, a former World War II soldier, whose goal is to settle with his family in a peaceful Los Angeles. Police Chief William Parker decides to form a special unit whose mission is to take down Cohen, and chooses O'Mara to lead the unit. O'Mara chooses 4 cops and asks another cop and vet, Jerry Wooters to join him but Wooters is not interested. But when he witnesses the murder of a young boy by Cohen's people, he joins them, and they decide to take apart Cohen's organization. Cohen wonders if a rival is going after him, but eventually he realizes it's the cops. Written by
Daryl Gates didn't join the LAPD until September 16th 1949 and didn't become Chief Parker's driver until many years later. See more »
Sgt. John O'Mara:
Every man carries a badge. Some symbol of his allegiance. His were the scars of a boxer who'd used his fists to climb the social ladder of the mob. A Jew who'd gained the respect of wops through a homicidal lust. He'd sworn an oath of violence. And his master? His own insatiable will to power. He wanted to own this town. His name was Mickey Cohen.
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Captivating and intense, but lacks some substance for those who can't "let it go and watch the movie"
This movie has everything you could ask for, in an action-packed emotional thrill ride, provided that you are able to just let go, and let yourself to be engrossed. For those who prefer films that may have a little less predictability, or people that find themselves unable to maintain the "suspension of disbelief", this movie would be understandably less enjoyable.
Right alongside moments that range from somewhat cringe-worthy, to positively grisly, there are enough instances of justice, and pleasant surprises to cause powerful feel-good moments just shortly after even the darkest of situations. I personally felt a constant paralyzing tension keeping me glued to my seat in the theater throughout the entire movie, and couldn't bring myself to leave and go to the bathroom.
The cast and their acting is just about flawless, (though admittedly a bit cliché at times), and the sets and cinematography are superb. Sean Penn is positively frightening, and shines in his role as the villain, while Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling perfectly portray the face of their vigilante-style band of misfits; The Gangster Squad.
If you are familiar with the story that this movie is loosely based from, you may be disappointed by the fact that it is QUITE loosely based indeed. I feel that this makes is a likable, albeit somewhat predictable movie, but others who expect it to stick with the "real story" may not find it as enjoyable, despite the overall positive tone that the new adaption allows.
Though the reviews seem to be a horse-a-piece, I recommend seeing it and judging for yourself, because it truly is an interesting thrill ride that will have you rooting for the good guys, tearing up from time to time, and cringing at the evil that Sean Penn is able to embody in an absolutely brilliant and stylish movie about good guys doing wrong to take down bad guys doing worse.
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