starring Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Nick Nolte, Sean Penn
screenplay by Will Beall
directed by Ruben Fleischer
by Angelo Muredda In his recent chat with David Poland, Ruben Fleischer bristled at the suggestion that Gangster Squad shares any DNA with Warren Beatty's Dick Tracy. That's the sort of aesthetic family resemblance a lightweight like Fleischer ought to milk for all it's worth, but hear him out: Sean Penn's enterprising mob boss Mickey Cohen, he insists, isn't a cartoon bruiser in the tradition of Al Pacino's Big Boy Caprice, but a real guy whose face only looks a little off because it's been molded by other men's fists. He isn't a comic strip-grotesque, then, but a seasoned boxer-turned-kingpin reanimated by a grand old actor and his team of historically-faithful makeup artists. What more could one ask of a Warner Bros. crime movie than such attention to detail? A lot, apparently--especially if the finished product looks more like Elmer Fudd than any retired amateur boxer. Verisimilitude is a nice goal, but it doesn't suit Gangster Squad, at once a lumbering history lesson and a squib of a gangster picture--a zit on the ass of Mulholland Falls, Lee Tamahori's somehow more accomplished stab at L.A. noir.