Kill The Irishman
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Danny Green is an Irish mob boss in Cleveland during the 1970s. This is the true story of his brutal climb to the top of the crime ladder, involving gang wars, racketeering, corrupt unions, and of course, car bombs.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I don't want to compare this movie to GOODFELLAS, because GOODFELLAS has been a cinematic cornerstone of my life, ever since my brother told me I couldn't leave my room until I had watched it. (I was ten.) And yet, I have no choice. It's the same era, with a strikingly similar backstory, plot, tempo, and look. The statement " A young Irish thug finds himself at the top of the criminal food chain, surrounded by the Mafia", could be about either movie.
Ray Stevenson (the best thing about ROME) plays Greene. While I have no basis to comment on his portrayal of a real life person whom I have never met, he is convincing as the tough anti-hero. Vincent D'Onofrio plays John Nardi, one of the racketeering underbosses. Part of me thinks that D'Onofrio is just amazing playing the "unhinged". (If you don't know what Im talking about, then, man, I don't even know what to tell you.) Then theres a part of me that thinks he might not be such a good actor, but in fact, a real-life raging psycho. Christopher Walken is as cold as always as Shondor Birns,a Jewish loan shark. Val Kilmer is FBI agent Joe Manditski who befriends Greene, despite being natural adversaries. Filling in the B-list mobsters and usual suspects are familiar faces like Steve Schirripa. And what would a mob movie be without a mandatory appearance by Paul Sorvino? I don't want to give anything away, but some of the billing in the promotional material for this film is…interesting.
I enjoyed the look and feel of this movie, and found it convincing to the time period, even all the way down to the color scheme and location. The only aesthetic issue I had was hair and make-up. I know its a totally random complaint, but there were problems prominent enough for me to make more than one note about.
Danny Greene: The Rise and Fall of the Irishman: John Di Maggio narrates this lengthy and interesting documentary about the real-life Danny Greene, with photos and interviews. I'm a sucker for biographical documentaries, so I enjoyed this. This is the only special feature besides a theatrical trailer, though.
The story is compelling, and I'm told the book it's based on is a great read. Danny Greene is apparently a household name in Cleveland, with legendary status as "The Man the Mob Couldn't Kill." I made a guess halfway through the movie that guys might dig it more than girls, and after doing some polling and scoping on the internet, I found that to be pretty true. (This was not a major scientific study, I know that. Maybe you and your girlfriend both like it, but she's more likely to fall asleep halfway through.) It's a good watch, and I'd probably watch it again. My only main issue was the undeniable parallel to GOODFELLAS. If you can look past that, and maybe give the benefit of the doubt that the true stories both films were based on were, in fact, similar themselves, then you'll probably enjoy this flick.