A star-studded cast committed to a high-level of acting can make any mediocre, overdone story into something shiny and new, and this was no exception. When the words ‘based on a true story’ appear before a movie, I often wonder how much is actually true and what is dramatized for our benefit? In this period piece, Josh Brolin’s Sgt. O’Mara is tasked to take on Mickey Cohen, played by Sean Penn. The story is tired and worn, but somehow seemed less used with starlets Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, who should just admit their insane attraction and get married, having adorable children that we’ll all be in awe of. I digress.
Mickey Cohen has taken over Los Angeles, a mobster that’s moved west and moves further and further in, trying to establish himself as a permanent ‘business’ man. His racket is ruthlessness and any means necessary, no boundaries to his wicked ambition. Brolin’s O’Mara stands in his way, wanting a safe place and a return to the prior glory for LA. The Chief of Police, played by Nick Nolte gives him free reign, warning him that he will have to operate outside of the law to succeed. O’Mara happily takes this opportunity, bringing a few others along for the ride, your atypical supporting characters, many of which are expendable.
The story was really unoriginal, the characters pulled from classic mobster movies, like Gosling’s heartthrob turned vigilante after seeing someone die before his eyes. While there is certainly depth to be found for all, it was a challenge to see in the picturesque 1949 LA. I can’t say this is a great movie, although the cast was quite good. The movie was just blah, but didn’t deserve the panning either. It was ultra-violent, but that doesn’t stray from the course of most mobster movies. Overall, it was worth $6, but I’m not sure it’s worth more than that.