Review: ‘Mobsters’

Mobsters resembles a cart-before-the-horse case of putting marketing ahead of filmmaking, as the seemingly can't-miss premise of teen-heartthrob gangsters gets lost in self-important direction, a shoddy script and muddled storytelling.

Mobsters resembles a cart-before-the-horse case of putting marketing ahead of filmmaking, as the seemingly can’t-miss premise of teen-heartthrob gangsters gets lost in self-important direction, a shoddy script and muddled storytelling.

The narrative is amazingly confused in light of its simplicity: two Italian and two Jewish kids from the ghetto team up in the 1920s and get into organized crime, gradually finding themselves caught between two dons. Story [by co-scripter Michael Mahern] is based on the real-life exploits of mob boss Lucky Luciano (Christian Slater) and confederates Meyer Lansky (Patrick Dempsey), Bugsy Siegel (Richard Grieco) and Frank Costello (Costas Mandylor).

True highlights come from its longer-toothed characters, with Anthony Quinn’s lusty portrayal of Don Masseria and F. Murray Abraham as the Yiddish-spouting no-goodnik Arnold Rothstein.

First-time director Michael Karbelnikoff occasionally betrays his roots in TV commercials, particularly with a ludicrous, gauzily shot love scene between showgirl Lara Flynn Boyle and Slater that closely resembles a perfume ad.

[For pic’s UK release the handle The Evil Empire was added to posters.]

Mobsters

Production

Universal. Director Michael Karbelnikoff; Producer Steve Roth; Screenplay Michael Mahern, Nicholas Kazan; Camera Lajos Koltai; Editor Scott Smith, Joe D'Augustine; Music Michael Small; Art Director Richard Sylbert

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1991. Running time: 104 MIN.

With

Christian Slater Patrick Dempsey Richard Grieco F. Murray Abraham Lara Flynn Boyle Anthony Quinn
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety

Loading