You Saw 'Gangster Squad' Now Give Us Your Review

Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Michael Pena, Robert Patrick and Anthony Mackie in Gangster Squad
Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Michael Pena, Robert Patrick and Anthony Mackie in Gangster Squad
Photo: Warner Bros.

The Movie: Gangster Squad (2013)

Studio: Warner Bros.

Director: Ruben Fleischer

Starring: Sean Penn as Mickey Cohen, Josh Brolin as Sgt. John O'Mara, Ryan Gosling as Sgt. Jerry Wooters, Emma Stone as Grace Faraday, Mireille Enos as Connie O'Mara, Nick Nolte as Chief Parker, Robert Patrick as Officer Max Kennard, Giovanni Ribisi as Officer Conway Keeler and Michael Peña as Officer Navidad Ramirez

Screenwriters: Will Beall based on the seven-part, 2008 Los Angeles Times feature "Tales From the Gangster Squad" by Paul Lieberman

RottenTomatoes: 34% MetaCritic: 40/100

Snippet from My Review: (read my full review here)

Gangster Squad is a paint-by-numbers attempt at a gangster film. Gritty is assumed because it begins with a gnarly bit of violence, has plenty of bullets flying around and a lot of bloodshed and shouting. But in the end it has the appearance of a poser, unsure of itself and decreasing in entertainment value as it boom, boom, blams to its conclusion.

Starter Questions

Here are a few questions to help get the conversation started.

1.) If you like this movie as an example of a great gangster movie, what is your familiarity with the gangster films of the '40s and '50s such as White Heat, Public Enemies and Little Caesar?

2.) What did you think of the performances? I'm curious mostly about Sean Penn and Ryan Gosling as the rest were pretty generic in my opinion.

3.) Did you find yourself wishing it had been made more of a cartoonish Dick Tracy movie or do you wish it had stayed more serious?

Now share your thoughts on the film in the comments below and feel free to include spoilers.

  • Baca

    It just didn't really feel like anything. All over the place in tone. I thought Penn was way over the top, but his character was just poorly written that way. Gosling I felt was just not doing anything. His only character trait was "more charming than Brolin." The shortcomings in the script could have been a bit offset with really good action, but instead are generic and uninteresting.


    A perfect example of the laziness of the film is in the street shootout, everyone is inside slow dancing. After the shootout, they are still just slow dancing. Would these people really have not heard the massive amount of gunfire outside? Lazy.

  • Movie goer

    I dont miss very many movies ....This movie was so bad that it was funny. In fact at times I thought it was on purpose. the acting isnt quite as bad as the directing and the storyline is ... duh! 20 guys shooting tommy guns and throughout the entire shooting scenes only one runs out of ammo. It reminds me of a video game where you can shoot and shoot and people fall down but more fill in the spaces they leave. They have a few fist fights during the thing and otherwise there isnt much else.
    It can earn a Golden Globe for the worst directing and acting in a long, long time! And virtually no story....

  • C.J.

    I honestly had a desire for it to have a more serious tone. I was a bit annoyed at Ryan Gosling's performance first. Sean Penn had potential but I felt with his character, like everyone elses, it just lacked depth and you don't really know or care about any of the characters. I most closely related this movie to being a bad knock-off of The Untouchables and does not come close to the greatness of White Heat. And I had a feeling even before I saw a trailer, back when they had the cast, that it was going to be a bit of a cheesy film. Just based on the fact that Josh Brolin was in the film. And I knew the movie was going to have a lot of problems when they moved the release date by about 4 months. Now I didn't hate the movie, I was actually mildly entertained for about two hours. And they actually just kinda flew by in my opinion. But I wouldn't go out of my way to see it again nor would I recommend it to anyone if they ask about it.

    • Sean Fast

      "And I knew the movie was going to have a lot of problems when they moved the release date by about 4 months."

      So you think the movie was pushed back for problems, not for the reshoots of a scene and the deletion of the theater scene? I'm not saying they didn't recognize problems, but they can't turn around a reshoot and put it out a weekend later you know

  • Good Grief

    "Gangster Squad" was as lazy an uninspired as a film gets. Zero character development, a wafer thin plot and a mixed focus (is it meant to be serious or cartoony?)
    Strangely enough I liked Gosling and Penn as it seems they were the only two that knew they were meant to be hamming it up. Had everyone done the same, it might have been a nice Dick Tracy-ish film. Sadly, it wasn't.
    I love a gritty gangster film but this was not one of them. It was a cartoony, wartered down attempt at "LA Confidential" and it didn't pull it off at all. I'd say it's already a hot contender for worst of 2013.
    Oh and was the final fight pilfered directly from "Lethal Weapon?"

  • Connor420

    I skipped it and saw Zero Dark Thirty instead and I don't regret it at all. I loved it. Best movie of 2012.

  • Danny

    I actually really enjoyed the movie... I am about to echo my comment I made on your review of the movie.... I feel that Brads description of the movie being The Untouchables meets Dick Tracy was right on...and I don't think that hurt the film. I went into the movie wanting to see a 40's set gangster shoot'em up flick and that is exactly what was delivered.... I felt it was a good early year entry of cinematic escapism fun... I liked Penn hamming it up as a semi-cartoonish Mickey Cohen, Brolin was exactly what he needed to be, the square jawed quiet hero, Gosling was the charming cop who did just enough work to not be messed with, once he had to turn on the vengeance, he did so and it worked. Stone, she didn't have a lot to do, but she looked the part and really she just needed to do that... I even liked Robert Patricks "Old West Gunslinger" style detective... I'll admit the movie had flaws and could have been a great LA Confidential style movie... But I don't it ever strived or wanted to be that... It had a nice throwback, pulpy, on the surface good vs evil thing going for it... And it was shot beautifully, even people who dislike the movie can't deny that it had great cinematography.... I really had a lot of fun with it, flaws and all...

  • Alex Thomas

    I really liked this as a gangster movie, but I haven't seen many, including the 3 you mentioned. However, I think those that haven't seen any gangster movies will have a great time with it (well, at least some people!)

    Gosling was the best actor for sure, but I thought Brolin was fantastic too. Penn was mixed, he was certainly over the top but it suited the character, to an extent. I can see what he was going for. I actually thought it was the perfect blend of film, it was rather serious but had some moments of enjoyment.

  • IcicleM

    Fun Fact: Emma Stone was on Ellen the other day and she recalled a story about her character for this movie. She asked the [nobody] director if she could do a very sultry (almost campy) Catherine Hepburn impression for her character. Fleischer felt his vision of the film was way more serious that how Emma had read it, and told her "No... No, you're not going to sound like that." My guess is she saw how corny the movie was, and wanted to play her character that way. I think this was just something for her to do in between Spider-Man movies, honestly. (They just started filming the second Amazing Spider-Man a couple days ago, by the way)

  • Shawn Gordon

    As a colorful slice of classic pulp noir Ruben Fleischer's "Gangster Squad" hits the mark. Carrying the torch of classic gangster films that Warner Bros. is so famous for, no it wont win any Oscars or be remembered in years to come, but that is fine for now it will do nicely.
    The production looks great and the cast is first rate, Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling and Robert Patrick are all at the top of their game giving their roles their best. But make no mistake this is Sean Penn's movie, his snarling performance is worthy of the greats like Eddie G., Bogie or Cagney.
    Some have complained of it;s overtly stylized action, but I feel it works just fine. It's more "Dick Tracy" than "The Godfather", but the director of "Zombiland" and the pulpy title should be a significant tip off, call it cartoonish cool.

    For a more full review see my comments at

  • Ryguy815

    1. Haven't seen any of those.
    2. Sean Penn was horrible but I didn't mind Ryan Gosling.
    3. I could have really gone either way for me, I really wouldn't have cared.

    Overall, I liked it. B+ for me.