Gangster No. 1 Reviews
Gangster No. 1 is a stylish, brutal and black drama with comic undertones, but it also tries to be a hip crime-flick showing us the past and the present in one package. It´s hardly an original set up, the gangster genre has been so diluted since "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels", with the young gangster trying to take over the older gangster´s empire. Paul Bettany´s performance stands out and he manages to be menacing, extremely violent and off his rockers. While Malcolm McDowell adds weight to the film, I personally think that he doesn´t manage to channelise Bettany´s gangster into an older version as they seems to be different in many ways (height, looks, voice etc). The crazy, electric, calculating and vicious gangster is gone, maybe due to age, but it doesn´t really add up. And I hear too much Alex de Large in Malcolm McDowell´s narrative. Plus the final confrontation ends in nothing special. I reckon you´d think that it would be more explosive. Or that´s just what the filmmaker wanted. The gangster simply never got a conclusion with his rivalry towards Mays and what he did to Mays. And the homage to James Cagney doesn´t fully work. "Gangster No. 1" is ok, but maybe adds not that much new to the genre.
Director Paul McGuigans follow up to the surreal film 'The Acid House' is very much your standard rise and fall gangster film which have paved the genre for many years.
'Gangster No 1' is famous for Paul Bettany's debut performance but apart from a few impressive scenes involving the actor, the stand out being between Bettany and Eddie Marsan in Marsan's kitchen which is impressive.
Bettany doesn?t really have much to do. The best acting goes to the brilliant Eddie Marsan.
Overall 'Gangster No 1' is allot of style and very little originality, as well as the viewer never really caring for these nasty gangsters and other dull characters.