Monday, November 11, 2013

Film Review: A Gang Story (2011)

A Gang Story (Review)
France/2011
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...one of the few gangster crime films I can consider a full-fledged action film..."

A retired gangster's peaceful life is disrupted when an old friend emerges with a burden of problems that threaten both of their families well-being...

A Gang Story follows retired gangster Momon (Gérard Lanvin) as he tries to free his childhood friend, Serge (Tchéky Karyo), from prison and the people he has double-crossed. At the same time, we witness Momon's past and how his relationship with Serge came to be. The story jumps from past to present, showcasing the problems they faced and face now -- from bank and armored vehicle heist to gang warfare. This fast-paced gang story ends with a thrilling and unexpected conclusion.

A Gang Story is a basic yet entertaining crime thriller. The storytelling can be confusing at times, mainly due to the constant flashbacks; in fact, there is even more confusion when time changes within the flashback. However, the main plot is easy enough to understand. The action is thrilling with several well-executed heists and blazing shootouts to keep you at the edge if your seat. This is one of the few gangster crime films I can consider a full-fledged action film thanks to the consistent action sequences. The story has been done before, but it still plays out well and has some differentiating factors. (by the way, there is also a dog death in this film, but you don't see or hear the actual killing, it's not graphic and it doesn't look real, at least in my opinion.)

The acting is great from the entire cast. Gérard Lanvin plays an older Momon and takes the most screen time; fortunately, his performance is stern yet emotional and genuine. The soundtrack really stood out to me, it has a Hans Zimmer vibe to it giving the heists and other such scenes an epic feeling. The film is shot beautifully. The editing is often overdone and occasionally inconsistent, but it doesn't severely disrupt the film. The storytelling has a few bumps, but, as I previously stated, you won't most any significant details.

Overall, A Gang Story is an action-packed crime thriller worth experiencing. The production values are stellar, and the story is great for fans of gangster and heist films. It's something that has been done before, though, and there are some editing and storytelling issues.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, and nudity.

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