Sean Penn, in prosthetics that make him look a bit like Liam Neeson in prosthetics, plays Mickey Cohen, boxer turned gangster turned psychopath. Mickey arrives in post-war LA from Chicago determined to take over crime in the city. He buys off cops and divides the opposition – sometimes literally.
But he comes up against crusading cop and war hero John O’Mara (Josh Brolin). Chief Parker (Nick Nolte) thinks O’Mara’s just gravelly-voiced enough to clean up this town. Communicating in low growls that only each other can hear, Parker tells O’Mara to handpick a squad of honest cops, “you know, like that guy Eliot Ness. Only with more ethnics. And no hiring Scotsmen and pretending they’re Irish.”
Inspired by real-life people (and possibly the L.A. Noire videogame), this film offers few surprises, light characterisation and rushed storytelling, but there are some great visceral fight sequences. 7/10
Released January 10, 2013.