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The best gangster films
Overall, the classic gangster film has been in a creative crisis for some time. Unfortunately, the year 2017 hardly has to offer memorable strips, which were able to draw attention to themselves as worthy successors to “The Godfather”, “Good Fellas” and Co.
However, if you risk a closer look into the depths of the genre, you can find a little highlight of the year with “Good Time”. In Benny and Josh Safdie's gangster crime drama, Connie (Robert Pattinson) and his mentally handicapped brother Nick (Benny Safdie) first raid a bank. But the robbery goes wrong, Nick goes to jail and Connie looks stupid. As a result, Connie does everything to get bail for his brother. It goes without saying that he does not use enough legal means.
Director Steven Soderbergh also focuses on a pair of brothers in the Heist comedy "Logan Lucky". Jimmy (Channing Tatum) and Clyde (Adam Driver) get through life more badly and dream of big money. With a robbery that is to take place in the vicinity of a prestigious NASCAR race, they finally want to land the big coup. You hire the best safe cracker in the country (Daniel Craig) and want to get started right away. But soon they have to realize that being a gangster can be quite exhausting.
Criminal Brothers, the Third! In "The Mason Brothers" the Mason brothers actually have a routine bank robbery in their sights. But things are getting out of hand in the bank and one of the brothers is blessing the time. As a result, the four remaining Masons try to find out the circumstances that led to the death of their brother and uncover an underworld conspiracy. We say: Not a real masterpiece, but unquestionably one of the best gangster films of 2017!
While the prejudice is known to mean that only the Americans and Asians are successful in making gangster films worth seeing, director Philipp Kadelbach shows with his gangster drama “On short distance” that the German film landscape can also make its contribution to the genre. The story: In Berlin, police officer Klaus Roth (Tom Schilling) is supposed to be smuggled into a Serbian gang that earns its money with manipulated sports betting. When the Turkish mafia also interferes, it becomes critical for Roth. Our opinion: Not a masterpiece, but one of the best German films of the last few years!
Also worth seeing in 2016 is the gangster docudrama “Killing Veerappan”, which traces the events that led to the arrest of the notorious Indian gangster Veerappan. Thus, the film by Ram Gopal Varma is something like the exotic gangster film of the year and appeals to all cineastes who are on a great tour of discovery through the genre.
On the other hand, the cinema-minds differ on “Triple 9”. With Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Aaron Paul, Woody Harrelson and other Hollywood stars, the cop gangster film by John Hillcoat has the most famous genre cast of the year. But measured in terms of potential, the film is unfortunately one of the flops of 2016. The story about a group of corrupt cops never really gets going and makes “Triple 9” look much worse than it would have been possible. We say: what a shame!
The gangster thriller “Imperium” is likely to be interesting in 2016, in which Daniel Radcliffe, as an undercover agent, becomes part of a terrorist organization and tries to uncover the criminal machinations. With Toni Collette at Radcliffe's side, the film could still go high this year. In any case, it will be exciting to see how Radcliffe embodies the role of the tough cop. We are excited!
THE big Hollywood gangster film of 2015 is unquestionably "Black Mass". Director Scott Cooper traces the life of the gangster James J. Bulger, who earned a golden nose with drug trafficking and gambling in the 1970s and 1980s. As usual, Johnny Depp performs as a bulger and is flanked by Kevin Bacon, Benedict Cumberbatch and Peter Sarsgaard. There is definitely no bigger way in 2015!
Brian Helgeland's surprise hit, on the other hand, is very British. In "Legend" the Kray brothers (both played by Tom Hardy) rise to become the most notorious criminals in the Empire and increasingly attract the attention of Scotland Yard. Particularly interesting: the mixture of American gangster flair and Brit atmosphere.
For die-hard people, 2015 also has an appealing mix of gangster film, crime thriller and drama ready with “Infidus”. In Giulio De Santi's film, an unequal couple takes on a fight with a criminal snuff film ring and, with their explicitly illustrated outbreaks of violence, undoubtedly provides the subject of discussion. We say: Enjoy with caution and not suitable for a harmless movie evening in between!
Robert Rothbard's gangster comedy “Pizza with Bullets” is much funnier. The story: Mafia boss * coughs * Don Vito (Vincent "Big Pussy" Pastore) believes he has found his long-lost son in a pizza seller. Talia ("Adrian !!!") Shire as his wife gives the sidekick and provides some funny genre tips. In general, the comedy convinces primarily through subtle cliché games and tongue-in-cheek references to the careers of the actors. 2015 is probably one of the most varied gangster film years of the decade and already makes you want to see 2016.
2014 is all about Asian gangster films. With “Gangster Payday”, “The Raid 2” and “Tokyo Tribe”, three representatives from the Far East are among the highlights of the genre and provide a breath of fresh air. While “The Raid 2”, a continuation of the surprise hit “The Raid” from 2011, primarily relies on hard (to brutal) martial arts action and atmospherically shifts between gangster and action films, “Gangster Payday” reduces the number of physical confrontations and relies on the dynamics of two rival gangs fighting over a property. The gangster musical “Toyko Tribe” goes completely its own way, which is based on classics such as “West Side Story” and unquestionably pushes the genre to its limits. We say: If you can't do much with classic Hollywood gangster films, you will get your money's worth in 2014.
Of course, Hollywood has not slept and is presenting two western representatives of the gangster film with “The Gambler” and “The Order”. In “The Gambler”, Mark Wahlberg first gambled away the money from his mother and a gang boss and then tried to play the greats of the underworld against each other. Jessica Lange and John Goodman in other roles raise the film to a level well above the average. In “The Order”, John Travolta takes on one last big coup as an art forger and, in the mixture of gangster and heist film, convinces primarily through interpersonal tones. Only the unfortunately somewhat unsuccessful German dubbing spoils the pleasure of seeing Travolta in one of his better roles in recent years. We think: A must for genre fans in any case! 2014, gangster movie? Running!
The absolute highlight of the 2013 gangster film is unquestionably “Trance - Dangerous Memory”. In cool and stylish pictures, the great director Danny Boyle traces the path of a painting theft that went wrong. In the robbery, protagonist Simon Newton gets a neat headache and as a result forgets important details about the location of the picture. Gangster villain Vincent Cassel does everything in the episode to help Newton's memory on the jumps. Furious!
"Gangster Squad" is a lot more lead-laden. The story: Gangster Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) spreads out in Los Angeles in the 1940s and is ruthless in building a true mafia empire. The authorities see their means exhausted and commission Josh Brolin and his crew (including Ryan Gosling) to put an end to Cohen's troops with drastic means. While the first half of the film looks like a classic Mafia film, the second part also gets down to business in terms of action.
"Only God Forgives" is arguably the most psychological gangster film of the year. Director Nicolas Winding Refn sends Ryan Gosling on a personal vendetta to hunt down his brother's killer. The protagonist dives into eerie worlds of images and symbolic allusions that are among the darkest that the genre 2013 has to offer.
Robert De Niro is responsible for the gangster comedy of the year (as has often been the case recently). In “Malavita - The Family”, an ex-Mafia boss and his family have to flee to France and deal with the curious entanglements of the witness protection program. The fact that his wife and children continue to indulge in being a gangster doesn't necessarily make getting used to their new home easier. We say: the best gangster comedy in a long time!
Our secret tip of the year is "Cold Comes the Night", in which Alice Eve has to fight for custody of her daughter on the one hand and help gangster Topo (Brian Cranston) to get a chunk of money back on the other. Above all, Cranston's portrayal of the semi-educated Mafioso is worth a movie night! So overall, 2013 was a more than strong year for gangster films.
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