Monday, November 23, 2009


Day 326 - 11/22/09 - Movie #326

BEFORE: Moving on from thieves to another type of criminal - gangster and casino owner Bugsy Siegel - this sort of turned into "hunk week", with Redford and McQueen and Brosnan, and now Warren Beatty. I assure you, that was unintentional. Also, following a movie with Faye Dunaway with a Warren Beatty movie, forming a sort of "Bonnie and Clyde" reunion, was a happy accident.

THE PLOT: The story of how Bugsy Siegel started Las Vegas.

AFTER: I don't know if I'm getting burned out, jaded or just hard to impress, but I didn't really see the point of this movie. So Bugsy Siegel is a gangster - so what? So he's married and he chases other women - so what? So he thought up the idea for Las Vegas as an entertainment mecca - OK, that last part's actually pretty cool.

But as a biopic of a man, and a man's life and a man's personality, I didn't really feel all the pieces coming together coherently. Where the other actors in the past week played characters who had it all together - planning bank robberies and jewel thefts with precision, Bugsy's life always feels like it's unraveling. Is his marriage on the rocks, is his girlfriend Virginia (Annette Bening) seeing other guys, is he losing control of the other L.A. mobsters? I'm reminded of other Beatty movies like "Shampoo" and "Heaven Can Wait", where his situations and relationships keep getting more and more complicated.

Bugsy's got this great idea for a Las Vegas casino, but the construction keeps running over budget and the opening date keeps getting pushed back. He keeps telling Virginia that he's going to ask his wife for a divorce, but he never seems to get around to it. Plus he's got this grand ambition to go to Italy and assassinate Mussolini. Does he have some kind of A.D.D., or is he just crazy?

Co-starring Harvey Keitel as Mickey Cohen, Ben Kingsley as Meyer Lansky, also Elliott Gould, Joe Mantegna and Bebe Neuwirth in a bit part. I suppose this sort of works as a snapshot of 1940's gangster history, but it just sort of left me cold and un-entertained.

RATING: 3 out of 10

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