Today marks the premiere of “Gangster Squad.” The movie follows a classic film noir plot. Circa 1950, mobster Micky Cohen (Sean Penn) has taken total control of the politicians and police force in Los Angeles. However, a secret sect of police headed by Sgt. John O'Mara and Jerry Wooters (Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling) are working against the crime lord to restore justice and order.
The film was originally scheduled to be released in September, but the date was pushed back because a scene was cut after the July shooting during the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colorado. Although the current release date comes just a month after the Connecticut school shooting, Tom Charity of CNN believes the film is unlikely to provoke offense.
Tom Charity of CNN: “it's a gleaming, glossy parade of good-looking actors trading quips and striking poses in sexy period duds, only a couple of stops more naturalistic than "Sin City" or "Dick Tracy...the more seriously "Zombieland" director Ruben Fleischer takes the material, the more vapid it comes off. "Gangster Squad" looks the part, but it's so superficial it practically evaporates before our eyes.”
Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle: "A movie like this - set in the film noir days of postwar Los Angeles - gains a lot from its historical authenticity (or even the illusion of it). But by the second or third time the gangster squad provokes some insane public gunfight with Cohen's army, you catch on that you're not seeing something real or almost real, but an attempt to ramp up an old story for maximum action. With that realization goes the illusion of this movie's integrity. What's left is nothing terrible, just typical."
Joe Morgenstern of the Wall Street Journal: "The second part pays off for a while with audaciously lurid characters and over-the-top action, but there's only so much style can do to spiff up shriveled substance."
Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post: "Slick, sick, self-consciously stylish and defiantly shallow, Gangster Squad is one of those movies you can't talk about without invoking other (often better) movies."
Claudia Puig of USA Today: "While there is little to recommend this movie -- and the excessive gun violence could put viewers off -- it does evoke a glamorous era, with close attention paid to period costumes, architecture and set design."