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. Under the direction of Ruben Fleischer (“Zombieland”), “Gangster Squad” is a colorful retelling of events surrounding the LAPD’s efforts to take back their nascent city from one of the most dangerous mafia bosses of all time. The film stars Oscar® nominees Josh Brolin (“Milk,” “True Grit”) and Ryan Gosling (“Half Nelson,” “Drive”) as the LAPD’s Sgt. John O’Mara and Jerry Wooters, and Academy Award® winner Sean Penn (“Milk,” “Mystic River”) as real-life mobster Mickey Cohen. The film also stars Oscar® nominee Nick Nolte (“Warrior,” “Affliction”) as LAPD Chief “Whiskey Bill” Parker, and Emma Stone as Grace Faraday, Cohen’s moll and the object of Wooters’ attention. The movie also stars Anthony Mackie (“The Adjustment Bureau”) as Coleman Harris, a switchblade-wielding cop who proudly patrols one of the most crime-ridden areas of the city; Giovanni Ribisi (“Avatar”) as the force’s Conwell Keeler, an electronics expert who takes as much pleasure in fixing his son’s bike as he does tinkering with experimental, military-grade equipment; Michael Peña (“Battle Los Angeles”) as Kennard’s over-eager sidekick, Navidad Ramirez; and Robert Patrick (“Flags of Our Fathers”) as Officer Max Kennard, a deadly cop who patrols the Olvera Street beat. The screenplay is by Will Beall (TV’s “Castle”), based on the book Gangster Squad by Paul Lieberman. The film is being produced by Dan Lin (“Sherlock Holmes”), Kevin McCormick (“The Lucky One”) and Michael Tadross (“Arthur”). The executive producers are Ruben Fleischer, Paul Lieberman and Bruce Berman. Joining Fleischer behind the scenes are the director’s regular collaborators, production designer Maher Ahmad and editor Alan Baumgarten (“30 Minutes or Less,” “Zombieland”), as well as editor James Herbert (the “Sherlock Holmes” films), Academy Award®-winning director of photography Dion Beebe (“Memoirs of a Geisha”) and Oscar®-nominated costume designer Mary Zophres (“True Grit”). The film’s composer is Steve Jablonsky (“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”).
The movie is called Gangster Squad. A name like that should tip you off to the dramatic ambitions at hand. We haven’t seen a title like that since Cowboys vs. Aliens, nor have we seen such a simple premise with so much star power thrown its way. Cops go vigilante, a mob boss fights back, and it’s all set against the backdrop of LA in its most evocative era. Combine that with a cast including Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Robert Patrick, Sean Penn, and Emma Stone, and it seems like a solid recipe for entertainment. In many ways it succeeds. The cast, especially Ryan Gosling as the too-cool LA cop, is immensely charismatic and often quite funny. Sean Penn gets angry as kingpin Mickey Cohen, offering up some powerful scene chewing moments. Emma Stone seems to fit that... Read Review