Gangster # 1 starts off with one of the best crooner songs on all time, a song when hearing it makes you always wish that your real life could live up to it. The good Life. Only seconds, minutes into the movie as your listening to that great song, you wonder if this movie is going to deliver anything close to the Good Life for the lead character.
The movie is a flashback in the mind of the character Gangster 55 that shows his climb as a young gangster joining up with the mob gang leader Freddie Mays. It’s a smoky, grim, and harsh movie both in the visual aspects and in its storyline. Young Gangster 55, although becoming the right hand man of Mays, is constantly planning his overthrow with very obvious and impressively acted deceit played by Bettany who was brilliantly cast. When Saffron Burrows who plays Karen is introduced early on in the movie at club 66 you can only imagine the over throw that is going to happen.
Music really helps this movie along; it is elegantly underscored, and carries an attitude and swagger helped out by a really cool and sexy soundtrack as well. The songs from the 60’s and 70’s put you in the place of the tough streets where the characters are walking around.
The movie moves fast, meaning it keeps you interested but also doesn’t take the appropriate time to build the characters completely. For example we don’t know how Gangster 55 became associated with this type of lifestyle as a young adult. Another area where more depth would have been helpful is, other than a couple of scenes, we don’t really get to see Gangster 55 and Mays working as partners and before the sabotage begins.
It is a brutal movie with horrible murders, true jealousy and deception. To say the protagonist is insane would be a true understatement. It makes for a really cool character and a great story! I would recommend this movie for anyone who like the gangster genre but would warn the weak of heart to stay away due to its extreme violence and awful content. A very good gangster movie.