BY MICHELLE MEDFORD
With all the hype about this movie, you probably already have an idea of what you think it’s about, but whatever that is, let me tell you what it actually is: This movie is the shiny, new toy you begged your parents for for your birthday, then got. It’s fun, it’s flashy and it comes with bragging rights (until all your friends have seen it too). As far as the plot goes though, it’s best summed up as Giovanni Ribisi introduced it at a Toronto screening, “There’s not much to say but… Gangster Squad.”
So, in the spirit of the movie, I’m going to keep it simple and shallow, and hit on a few of points worth talking about.
Ryan Gosling’s Voice
It was a little higher, a little nasalier. When I heard it, I couldn’t remember if his voice was actually like that and it was just the context that made it seem different, or whether he was putting it on. I didn’t make up my mind, but I got used to it easily and it fit his slightly-offbeat character. (Speaking of which, if you’re looking for the slightest reminder of Breaker High‘s Sean, this is as close as it seems you’ll ever get. Note, I said slight.) After consulting with The Notebook trailer, he was definitely putting that voice on.
Do I know much about the 40s? Not really. Am I going to comment on it anyway? Sure. It seemed pretty authentic to me, save some higher-waisted pants and stock-photo-looking backdrops. It was all intentionally cartoony and oversaturated, playing on the film’s exaggerated themes. For the most part, it worked. There are a few nice shots and cinematography isn’t too shabby eithers.
Hear me out, I love Emma Stone. I promise you, I do. A+ for effort, but this was just not her movie. She can play a smart girl (The Help), a badass (Zombieland), the sweet love interest (The Amazing Spider-Man), a dork (The House Bunny) or a girl like you and me (Easy A, well, except the whole hoax stuff), but she’s not this 1940s I’m-just-doin’-what-I-gotta-do-to get-by-honey kind of character. Not to mention, this disjoint throws off her whole chemistry with Gosling, because Gosling so naturally pulls off his character.
If you’re looking for complexity, you’re not going to get it. Think for a second of the simplest “good guy vs. bad guy” plot you can think of, and you’ve probably figured this movie out. Characters are flat as the plains, the story is A-B-C and there isn’t any memorable dialogue. Do not come to this movie looking for a deeper meaning (or really, much meaning at all); come to this movie looking for big, shiny guns and… well, that’s about it.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qilrVR0miPU]