Gangster Squad is a 2013 crime & action drama directed by Ruben Fleischer, from a screenplay written by Will Beall. The movie stars Sean Penn, Josh Brolin & Ryan Gosling. Supporting roles includes a well rounded cast of Emma Stone, Robert Patrick, Giovanni Ribissi, Nick Nolte, Mireille Enos, Michael Pena & Anthony Mackie. This movie is set in post World war 3 Los Angeles.
Set in 1949 the movie, narrated by Brolin’s character Sgt. John O’Mara, sees gangster and former boxer Mickey Cohen (Penn) making his intentions to own the entire West Coast know to his competitors by ripping apart a member of the Chicago mob as a warning. He eliminates witnesses and bribes legal officials and pretty much nothing is being done to stop him. Until chief Bill Parker (Nolte) gets wind of Sgt.O’Mara who goes into a Cohen stronghold to rescue a young women about to be gangraped by Cohen’s goons. The thugs set free by the police as they are afraid of Cohen but are burned alive by Cohen as punishment. Chief Parker calls O’Mara in and due to his record and his past as a special ops soldier in the war, tells him that they are going to wage war against Cohen. O’Mara can pick his own squad and he sets out to recruit them with the help of his pregnant wife Connie, who is still scared that he could lose his life in the process. However the squad is picked – Sgt Jerry Wooters (Gosling), O’Mara’s close friend, refuses until a shoeshine boy is gunned down when Cohen’s gang attacks the current old boss Jack Dragna and his wife. Joining them are officer Coleman Harris, old sharpshooter Max Kennard and his partner “Christmas” Navidad Ramirez and wire-tapper/former Army intelligence officer Conway Keeler. They dub themselves the Gangster Squad and get set in preparing themselves.
Wooters keeps in touch with his old pal Jack, who now works as a bodyguard for Cohen. At a club Wooters meets Cohen’s mistress Grace Faraday. Sparks fly between the two and Wooters begins an affair with her, despite Jack’s warnings. The Squad hits a Burbank casino that is owned by Cohen but when the policemen guarding it shoot at them, reluctant to shoot back they try and escape but O’Mara and Coleman are capture and put behind bars. Wooters and the others rescue them. With better planning the Squad now hits at several operations of Cohen causing him money and denting his plans of growth. They also tap his house and Keller listens in to find out locations & timings of exchanges & jobs being done and finally the team is able to hit Cohen’s main hub of operations and sets fire to it, destroying the heart of his business. An enraged Cohen suspects that his house is bugged and has his men search the house. On Seeing this Grace escape and runs to Wooters. On finding the bug, Cohen sets a trap for the Gangster Squad in which both Harris & Ramirez are injured and O’Mara barely escapes an explosion due to Wooters who suspected an ambush. Cohen’s right-hand man, kills Keeler in the unit’s operation. Wooters asks Whalen to get Grace out of town, but Cohen reaches him first, looking for Grace, and kills him. O’Mara’s house is later hit by a drive-by, and Connie gives birth to their son under the stress.
Later Chief Parker tells O’Mara that they have failed and that their careers with the LAPD are over. However O’Mara gets his wife & baby outta town and Grace tells Wooters she is willing to testify against Cohen for Whalen’s murder, prompting O’Mara, along with the remaining members of his unit, to go to the Park Plaza Hotel to arrest Cohen. They ambush a judge to get the warrant and a shootout at the hotel sees a lot of Cohen’s men dying. Wooters gets wounded in the process after killing Wrevock and Kennard is also shot more fatally. O’Mara runs after an escaping Cohen & Lennox and shoots Lennox causing the car to crash and a dying Kennard last Cohen & O’Mara have a fist fight with the latter getting the upper hand. Cohen is arrested by the cops and the press gets a wind of the shoot out. The Gangster Squad was never mentioned in taking down Cohen, their surviving members remaining a secret. Cohen is sentenced to 25 to life at Alcatraz, and is welcomed violently by Whalen’s friends. Grace and Wooters continue their relationship, while Navidad and Harris become partners on the force. O’Mara quits to live a quiet life with his wife and son. ”
Very compelling yet simple film. I know that the critics were harsh on this film and it didn’t set the box office on fire maing $105 million against a $60 mil budget. I still feel that it’s a well done film and it took my interest for the entire duration. 8 outta 10!