(Review originally written at 27 May 2008)

Well this movie just ain't no "Goodfellas", even though it was definitely inspired by it. It's a pretty good movie on its own right but it just remains a bit too much on the safe and clean side to really regard this as a true great and effective gangster-movie.

For a gangster movie it's just a too friendly one. This is like the light version of "Goodfellas". Supposedly Bugsy Siegel was a big gangster boss with connections but when watching this movie it makes you wonder why and how all. Guess they were just too afraid we would begin to dislike the character once we saw him do a lot of brutal things and killing- and giving orders to kill lots of people, even though this all of course was more closer to the truth as the character that is being portrayed in this movie. This not just goes for the main character but also does around him. It especially also goes for Virginia Hill. Guess director Barry Levinson just wasn't the right guy for a movie such as this. So as a biopic of the real life gangster Ben 'Bugsy' Siegel this just isn't a really good or insightful movie.

The movie still became an acclaimed success though, mainly because gangster movies were popular at that time, which also explains why the movie received no less than 10 Oscar nominations and taking home 2 of them. It was made at the same time as movies such as "The Godfather: Part III" and "Goodfellas" got released.

As a movie itself there isn't really much wrong with it. It's a good movie that follows a person that is following his dreams. Bugsy definitely seemed like a complicated and unpredictable character. He had some strange big ideas and really didn't knew how to handle money. It's a good movie and story on its own but as I said before, as a biopic or gangster movie it can't be really seen as a great one. The movie basically suffers from the same problems as "The Aviator"; it's too much in love with its main character and forgets to show the ugly but realistic things about his life.

Also seemed to me that Warren Beatty also didn't really knew how to handle the character. At times he's portraying him as a tough gangster, while at other moments it picks an even sort of like comical approach. Otherwise he plays well in the movie, just because he's such a darn fine actor, who has always starred in far to few pictures. His last movie already dates back again to 2001.

This is also known as the movie in which Warren Beatty and Annette Bening met and they got married 1 year later.

Besides Bening and Beatty the movie also stars acclaimed stars such as Harvey Keitel, Ben Kingsley and Elliott Gould, in variating sizes of roles. It's of course never a punishment to watch any of these actors in any movies.

It's a good movie, as long as you're not expecting a "Goodfellas" type of gangster-flick, even though it features basically the same style and narrative way of storytelling.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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