Archives for posts with tag: gangster films

The first time Daniel Craig is handed a gun in “Layer Cake” (2005), he briefly prances around like he’s 007 or something. That would still be a year or so away. We get to see him command a stage while on the wrong side of the law in this classic British gangster flick. There’s a much-coveted shipment of drugs and lots of double-crossing, just like in most gangster flicks, including the bad ones. The good ones let you follow along just closely enough to think you know what’s going on, when you really, really, don’t. This is a good one.

The old man has told this fable many times before, but it’s been a while. Delighted to have an audience, he can’t help but take tangents and add embellishments that make the fable as drawn out as a four-day drive from Philadelphia to Detroit. Still, there’s the same cast of characters portraying the survivor’s tale of allegiance versus betrayal, honor versus law, the family business versus the business of family. But with one more deep directorial breath, Martin Scorsese twists the ending. In “The Irishman” (2019), we’re left to wonder whether it would have been better to have lost bravely.

Watching someone slowly die of dementia is not pretty. Spending almost two hours watching Tom Hardy act like he was dying of dementia wasn’t pretty, either. Maybe the makers of “Capone” (2020) had some high-minded artistic vision of taking this larger-than-life gangster and cutting him down to size by showing his final, decrepit days. As he deteriorates, feds and fellow gangsters circle him like vultures. Is it true that he hid some loot? Syphilis-infected and stroke-addled, Capone can’t – or won’t – say. I won’t say Hardy wasn’t challenged in his role, but I can’t say I cared to see the result.