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Citizen Gangster (2012)



Average Rating: 5.9/10
Critic Reviews: 8
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 2

No consensus yet.



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Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 442

My Rating

Movie Info

The first feature from writer/director Nathan Morlando, Citizen Gangster is based on the true story of Edwin Boyd (Scott Speedman), the man who became postwar Toronto's most famous criminal. Edwin Boyd has returned from WWII and is dismayed by public indifference towards veterans and humiliated by his inability to fulfill his dream of being a Hollywood star or provide for his children and wife Doreen (Kelly Reilly). Seeing only disappointment in the face of his policeman father (Brian Cox),



Aug 27, 2012


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All Critics (14) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (7) | Rotten (7)

Inspired by Boyd's story, rather than literally retelling it, the movie is less a gangster film than an existential allegory of choices and limitations.

May 11, 2012 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Morlando has crafted a stylishly shot and evocatively designed period piece. But it's the dashing, quietly charismatic Speedman who proves the main draw, holding our attention even when the movie doesn't.

May 3, 2012 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
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Morlando has chosen to approach this material not with witty cynicism, but with quiet, and at times leaden, sincerity.

April 27, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
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A good-looking but passionless affair that remains stubbornly aloof from its audience.

April 26, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Citizen Gangster hits its marks when it's exploding the character's larger-than-life status, aided in large part by Speedman's career-best turn.

April 26, 2012 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As good as Citizen Gangster is, it would be even better if you could understand the dialogue.

April 25, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Observer
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"Citizen Gangster" is not exactly riveting. Speedman does the best he can in the title role. He gives his character life even as the sub par script drags us along.

October 2, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Chambers
Movie Chambers

The true moments of tension and danger in this film sing, and some moments, big and small, will haunt the viewer.

May 3, 2012 Full Review Source: Paste Magazine
Paste Magazine

With no firm hand guiding the proceedings, this potentially interesting slice of Canadian history winds up feeling like just another "Crime Doesn't Pay" PS

April 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Television Without Pity
Television Without Pity

How could the tale of Toronto's most flamboyant bank robber be turned into such a blah, seen-it-all-before film?

April 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

[VIDEO] Everything about "Citizen Gangster" seems second-rate.

April 22, 2012 Full Review Source:

Its commentary on our fascination with law-breakers is virtually nonexistent, except to the extent that the film itself revels in the doomed romanticism of its own protagonist.

April 22, 2012 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Audience Reviews for Citizen Gangster them! This was good. The movie is less about the facts, and more about the impact it had on the lives of those involved. While there is some violence in the movie, it is seriously downplayed for the benefit of making it more of a drama, than a shoot-em-up gangster movie. The outcome is surprising, and moving....
April 1, 2013

Super Reviewer

Citizen Gangster is the exciting true story of Edwin Boyd, Canada's greatest bank robber. Boyd was the John Dillinger of Canada, and he robbed several banks in Toronto. Edwin Boyd returned from active duty after WWII and after a string of bad luck, started robbing banks to support his family. Nathan Morlano directs his feature with Citizen Gangster and it is an engaging and thrilling movie that showcases Scott Speedman's talents. Speedman has acted in decent films in the past, but as Edwin Boyd, he delivers the greatest performance of his career thus far. Boyd's criminal career became Canadian folklore, and with this film we get to see this career criminal start out, almost like Dillinger did, from a small time robber, to a full time career criminal with a gang that would terrorize Toronto. I thoroughly enjoyed this film, and if you love a good crime drama, then pick this one up. This is a terrific picture from first director Morlano and he covers Boyd's beginnings to his arrest, imprisonment, escape and other criminal exploits. As a Canadian, I wasn't aware of this interesting bit of history, and this movie definitely opened my eyes, and makes me want to know more about Edwin Boyd and his exploits. Although not perfect, Citizen Gangster is a well made picture that relies on great acting and a compelling true story to make for a worthwhile viewing. This is one of the best Canadian films that I have seen in quite some time, and though not on par with Dillinger, Public Enemies and Bonnie and Clyde, this picture still follows the great crime films that told the real life stories of legendary bank robbers. Citizen Gangster is not an action movie, but it still has plenty of human drama to make this one worth seeing. Scott Speedman made a wise choice to not accept a part in Underworld: Awakening to star in this movie and he really hones his craft as an actor. Citizen Gangster will surely appeal to cinema buffs that enjoy a good crime film to watch, and with Edwin Boyd's exploits expanded from Toronto all the way to Montreal, and he definitely was Canada's very own John Dillinger. Director Nathan Morlano has crafted a fine picture that is engaging from start to finish.
January 5, 2013
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

A thrilling and dazzling triumph. An excellent and outstanding movie. An absorbing and invigorating feature that keeps you compelled and drawn to it all the way through. A slick, first-rate and epic crime-drama that forms itself as one of the fin est biopics ever made. One of the best Canadain films I have ever seen. A tremendosuly entertaining and enjoyable movie. A wonderfully shot, very tense and powerful gangster saga of this real-life character. Scott Speedman gives his best-career performance yet, he shines with charisma, power and heart. A great movie star performance that deserves awards attention. A load of great performances from its wonderful cast. Brain Cox is brilliant as always. Kelly Reilly is outstanding. Kevin Durand is terrific. Director, Nathan Morlano crafts fine, remarkable and truly amazing movie. Morlano proves to have the good to be one of the finest and promosing new directors. It would be a crime to miss this film. It knows how to thrill, it knows how to chill and it knows how to be fun. A total blast with great characters that are too great to ignore.
September 16, 2012

Super Reviewer

A valuable history lesson for Canadians who want to know about major criminal elements in the post war period but this film overall lacks soul. Outside of Speedman's Edwin Boyd, you get the sense that there is more to uncover with the other members of his gang that are missed. Kudos to Speedman though. He gets to play something other than block of wood.
October 10, 2012
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Citizen Gangster (Edwin Boyd) (DE)
  • Citizen Gangster (Edwin Boyd) (UK)
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