We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
The wits out in Hollywood have their own names for “Mobsters,” like “The Godson” and “GoodlookingFellas.” They have a point. It does seem sort of strange, watching a movie about four gangsters in their 20s. We expect gangsters to be older, to look like George Raft or Edward G. Robinson, to smoke like the old movie stars used to smoke.
And here are these kids looking like they’re wearing their first decent suits, and who aren’t inhaling.
All gangsters were however presumably once young, including the four seminal figures in “Mobsters”: Lucky Luciano, Frank Costello, Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel. The movie traces their rise from the streets, in the years between the two world wars, and their gradual expansion from a small bootlegging business to virtual control of the mob. What made their four-way partnership special, in a criminal world dominated by Italians and Sicilians, was that two of them were Jewish, and all four had a greater loyalty to each other than to any of their other allies.
Their nominal leader was Luciano (Christian Slater), who is given that title after an interesting little scene with Lansky (Patrick Dempsey). Lansky has a guy tell a paperboy that a man in the back room has a job for him. The kid walks into the room, looks at Lansky and Luciano, and instinctively picks Luciano. He has the looks for the role. And Slater, who was impressive last year as a rebellious teenager in “Pump Up the Volume,” ages fairly convincingly here as a bad guy in his 20s or 30s.