Ruben Fleischer’s Gangster Squad has had a rough road to theaters, but from the looks of things the wait may well have been worth it. The violent Noir tale tells the true story of late 1940s Los Angeles, in which vicious mobster Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) runs a criminal empire – one he looks to extended far beyond state lines via a wire-betting racket. The cops are powerless against kingpin Cohen – but when Sgt. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) puts together a crew of vigilante cops, working “off the books,” it starts a war in the streets that brings hell to the city of angels.
Clearly from the trailer it’s obvious that this film is coming with a star-studded cast, including a scenery-chewing performance from Penn, another tough-guy role for Brolin, Ryan Gosling filling the limelight as (fearless? Reckless?) cop Jerry Wooters and Emma Stone as Grace Faraday, the femme-fatale who is (literally) in bed with both sides. The quality of the secondary cast is just as high, with actors like Anthony Mackie (Captain America 2), Michael Peña (End of Watch), Mireille Enos (The Killing), Frank Grillo (The Grey), Giovanni Ribisi, Robert Patrick and Nick Nolte all making appearances.
Check out the new Gangster Squad poster & banner:
Fleischer looks do have done a solid job capturing the period, while still giving Los Angeles that down n’ gritty look and feeling, which tends to earn Noir films the term “hard-boiled.” In light of the Colorado theater massacre this past summer, a climatic sequence from the movie was cut (it featured gangsters shooting up a movie theater). While debate will likely continue to rage about whether or not changing the film was the appropriate response, from what this new trailer shows us, there is still plenty of quality material for Fleischer to work with. Hopefully reshoots went well.
If nothing else, the delay of Gangster Squad’s release date may turn out to be a blessing in disguise; the film – which was originally positioned as a possible awards contender – arrives in the typically unimpressive January slate – which could be just the unexpected bit of pep movie fans need at that droll time. It opens against Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, and after seeing the trailer for that movie, Gangster Squad looks even better by comparison.
Gangster Squad will be in theaters on January 11, 2013.