NEWBIES: If this is your first trip here (welcome!), here’s the QT on what these reviews are. THIS WEEK: Ben “Batman” Affleck (THE TOWN, ARGO) plays a Prohibition-era Irish crook from (surprise) Boston who become’s Florida’s biggest gangster/bootlegger who has to deal with the KKK, his past, his conscience, love vs. business, and other stuff critics like.
(FYI, I wanted to see the new XXX: THE RETURN OF XANDER CAGE. But PW’ed Pascale, who drove—and paid—said this had better reviews and thought his wife would rather see this thing. At least it’s a mob movie.)
Written and directed by Ben Affleck (based on the novel by Dennis Lehane).
Great recreation of the 1920s, 30s and early 40s. The cars, buildings, clothes/fashions, and so on, all look very convincing and cool.
Gunfights abound! Though not often, lots of gats and tommy guns go bang-bang-bang. Everyone seems to have a gun and wants to use it.
Very cool old car chase. You don’t see many 1920s car chases (especially since they didn’t go much faster than 60 mph), so this was refreshing. Plus it was really well choreographed and photographed. I only wish there were three more.
Irish mob vs. Italian mob, always entertaining. Those guys used to hate each other and it’s well-shown here. A few funny ethnic/southern comments/slurs (“That boy’s as dumb as a grape.”) And who doesn’t love mob jargon?
Very nice to see Zoe (GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY) Saldana without the green Gamora makeup, and braless in a sheer dress to boot. We also get Elle Fanning in an equally sheer dress (plus a couple b & w photos allegedly of her nekkid bod.). Not much on top but nice helmets and built for speed. (Both women of course turn in solid acting performances, but yer pal Bru has his priorities.)
Affleck’s character’s father was named “Tom Coughlin,” same as the former head coach of the NY Giants. (You’d think he’d pick the coach of the New England Cheaters—err, Patriots. Then again, “Bellichick” doesn’t sound very Irish.)
Actually a good story. Plot was easy to follow, characters believable, acting fine, some plot twists and turns I didn’t see coming, and a logical (though not too satisfying) ending.
Similar to a sedated super-snake: long and slow. Lots of mundane conversation and “under-acting” along with a “leisurely” pace (a nice way of saying it drags). Way too much time between gun battles and beat-downs.
Speaking of beat-downs (like any mob flick), a couple are pretty brutal, even tough to watch. (Although if you hated Affleck as Batman and wanted to beat the crap out of him for it, you get your vicarious thrill here). A scene of a father whipping his daughter’s behind goes on way too long (you know spanking can be hot but this was definitely not).
If yer sensitive at all about racial, southern or religious criticism, slurs and offensive language, this ain’t yer movie. The KKK and even the greater USA during the Depression was hardly PC. There’s a debate between a Bible-thumper and a businessman that might rankle a few cockles on either side. (Okay, that don’t make much sense but I wanted to use “cockles.”)
A couple minor Suspension of Disbelief Dept. moments regarding survival from car crashes and not having any leftover bruises after beatings, but not very noticeable.
The slow pace just made it all seem too long fer me and overwhelmed the good stuff. If you run across it on TV, record it so you can fast-forward to the car chases and gun battles and stuff. (At least you won’t have to listen to Ben’s bad gravel Batman-voice in this one!)
P.S.: You know what’s not long and slow? Getting an original art commission from Pascale! He’ll draw you up somethin’ cool and/or purty in good time at a fair price. Just ask Craig here!
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes, Mike Pascale, the Irish, the Italians, the Catholics, the Baptists, Cubans, Spaniards, Puerto Ricans, Blacks, women, the KKK, casinos, the state of Florida or the Mob. Bru was bummed that the only beer shown was “near beer” which is far from his favorite.