Sean Penn plays a mobster with twisted relish in 'Gangster Squad' (+trailer)
'Gangster Squad' mostly squanders its great cast, which includes Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, and Nick Nolte.
âGangster Squadâ is a deliberately retro crime thriller about the rise and fall of Los Angeles mobster Mickey Cohen, played by Sean Penn with such twisted relish that at times he resembles a gargoyle â or maybe Gollum. Penn is always entertaining when heâs playing characters drunk with depravity. âGangster Squadâ could use more of him, despite a top-drawer cast that includes Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Nick Nolte, Michael PeĂ±a, Giovanni Ribisi, and Anthony Mackie.
Most of them are wasted (especially PeĂ±a) in subpar bang-bang theatrics that look like discards from âL.A. Confidentialâ or âThe Untouchables.â Brolinâs character heads up the titular squad to rid the city of Mickey and the Mafia. Director Ruben Fleischer and screenwriter Will Beall canât decide whether to make a spoof or a serious drama, so they wrongheadedly attempt both. Grade: C (Rated R for strong violence and language.)