review by Bobby Blakey
For years there has been rumblings of a new film on the life of crime boss John Gotti with John Travolta attached. After numerous starts, stops and directors, Entourage star Kevin Connelly took the helm as director. Now Gotti starring Kelly Preston, Stacy Keach, Spencer Lofranco, Pruett Taylor Vince, William DeMeo, and Chris Kerson is here, but does it capture the essence of the man or will it fail to make the hit?
Gotti follows the incredible true story of John J. Gotti’s rise to power to take the mantle of boss of the Gambino crime family, and become the most dangerous criminal in modern history. I am a sucker for any film focusing on the Mob and have been following this films history of getting made from the beginning. I have to say that after finally getting to see it there are ups and downs, but no denying that Travolta knocks it out of the park. I really enjoyed the film as a whole, but my only issue is some of the structure. There is some interesting but not all that necessary narration throughout the film. This works fine despite not really being fully needed, but it’s the periodic time jump that really bothered me.
When the film catches up to it I see what they were going for, but felt they could have accomplished the same thing doing a straight forward story. Sure there are too many things that he did to go through every case or situation, but it also felt rushed at times. These issues might put some off altogether, but for me they were pretty minor to the rest of the film. I was sucked right in with Travolta’s portrayal who is all in. He is great with the New York accent which we have all seen before, but put within a character like this works all the better. He has a great look for the role fully embodying Gotti himself which makes sense to why the real life Gotti family wanted him to play the role.
This isn’t one of those with heavy violence, but make no mistake it is there as it tells the story of the Gambino Crime family and Gotti’s rise to power. As someone who remembers a lot of this story as it unfolded in real life it did affect some of the mystery to it all knowing some that betrayed the family, but I still enjoyed it. There are times that it didn’t feel as big as it needed too, but applaud the filmmakers for keeping an old school look to it all to help bring it together.
It’s hard to make a mob film when competing with films like The Godfather and Goodfellas, but I think they did a decent job and Travolta has given easily one of his best performance in years. If you like these kinds of movies then give it a shot and decided for yourself if you approve of the family when Gotti hits Blu-ray and DVD on September 25th from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.