The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Gruesome violence, elegant gowns in ‘Gangster Squad’

2 min read



On the weekend of April 12, “Gangster Squad” lit up the screens at Cheap Seats. The action-crime film, set in post-World War II Los Angeles, was directed by Ruben Fleischer and starred Josh Brolin, Sean Penn, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling.

“Gangster Squad” was loosely based on the story of the Los Angeles Police Department officers and detectives who formed a “gangster squad” in order to protect the city against mob boss Mickey Cohen, played by Penn.

Gang violence throughout the film created scenes filled with blood and torture, beginning with the opening scene, in which Penn rips apart a rival gangster with two cars. His over-the-top punishments caused waves of cringes in the audience.

Kara Yurina, a sophomore art history major, said, “I enjoyed it, but there was a lot of violence.”

The 1940s and 1950s time period, in which the film is set, created an opportunity for memorable costumes, especially for Stone’s character, Grace Faraday. She is draped in elegant gowns throughout the film while fronting as Penn’s girlfriend and secretly becoming involved with Gosling’s character, Jerry Wooters. The entire gangster squad remains trendy in their time specific apparel, even while dodging bullets.

As well as wooing Stone’s character with genuine emotion, Gosling captivated the mostly female audience, creating laughs amidst the violence.

“I thought it was pretty good,” said Emma Hyman, a sophomore sociology major.  When asked about Ryan Gosling’s performance, Hyman smiled and said, “He was great.”

His high, nasally voice was distinct and distracting throughout the film, which created laughs in and of itself. His casual comments like “you’re a peach” were surprising and added to his lighthearted character.

The action scenes and crime-rich plot kept the audience on the edge of their seats, as they rooted for the gangster squad’s success. This film is entertaining and one I recommend.