Exciting new gangster movies are always a hit among film buffs, and the 2020s so far have been no exception. With juicy performances, slick action and captivating story lines, they’ve captured audiences’ imaginations around the world. From the intricate psychological wall-building of a veteran hitman to the quick-changes of an expert con artist, these films have evoked empathy, thrill and understanding.
The Irishman from Martin Scorsese has perhaps set the bar for movies of its kind. Positive or negative reviews aside, its portrayal of teamwork, confidence and battle for power among mafia cronies certainly created an intriguing narrative for viewers. The long-awaited three-and-a-half hour epic was an immersive lesson in aging, loyalty and ambition. Al Pacino, Robert de Niro and Harvey Keitel all brought their A-game and delivered each scene with energy and carefully balanced emotions.
Coming in a close second is Joker. Starring Joaquin Phoenix in a deservedly award-winning role, the focus here is on mental health and the power of humour and self-expression. This movie straddles the line between comedy and tragedy, illustrating the loneliness and chaos of inner-city life in many of its scenes. While it is not exactly the usual gangster story, Phoenix’s character is one of resilient power and relatability.
Marriage Story is another movie set within a gangster environment. Written and directed by Noah Baumbach, it centres on the collapse of a marriage and its devastating effects on all involved. Adam Driver’s compelling portrayal of a once-promising Broadway director adds another dimension to the story. Viewers are not only shown two sides of the dissolution of the union, but also how the crisis affects their young son.
Last, but most certainly not least, we often forget about Snowtown. Based on a true story, this Australian/Irish drama is perhaps one of the most powerful films to come out of this new wave of gangster movies. Traversing the harsh South Australian suburbs and making a powerful case against the disgustingly neglected state of the area’s impoverished inhabitants, viewers are crushed by both the human darkness and resilience on display in this film.
Locke and Key
Locke and Key is an American supernatural horror streaming television series developed by Carlton Cuse, Meredith Averill, and Aron Eli Coleite, based on the comic book series of the same name. This series melds several genres, from horror and drama to fantasy,that makes this series strangely gripping and entertaining. The series follows the Locke family, which consists of three siblings—Kinsey, Tyler, and Bode— who, after the gruesome murder of their father move into their ancestral home to start a new life. However, on moving into the house, they discover numerous magical keys that allow them to transition between different dimensions and timelines.
The series not just has a compelling narrative but also some truly remarkable performance by the cast. The lead trio—Kinsey, Tyler, and Bode—play their parts particularly well and in the process share an incredible chemistry between them. Furthermore, the series brings with it true horror and plenty of jump scares, immersing viewers into a world of unknown motivations, secrets, and danger.
The production quality is also genuinely remarkable. The way each episode is shot and edited together adds another layer of suspense and texture to the show and really brings the viewer into the fold in big ways each episode. Effects-wise, the series also stands out from most of its contemporaries and deserves applause for its phenomenal art direction. With all these elements combined, Locke and Key is one series worth watching,.
Gangs of London
Gangs of London is a British action-crime television series created by Gareth Evans and Matt Flannery. Set in the city of London, it follows the story of a powerful crime family as they become embroiled in a bloody gang war. The series follows the game of power, politics and loyalty while at the same time maintaining a healthy dose of intense action and gripping narrative progression. It stars Joe Cole as the antagonist and bring in a remarkable ensemble of main players, including Lucian Msamati, Paapa Essiedu and Michelle Fairley.
One of the most remarkable aspects of this series is the quality of writing and direction. Evans and Flannery have done a remarkable job in piecing together this story and it works extremely well. They have paid attention to detail and the result is a show that is both immensely entertaining and captivating with its multiple angles and turns. Moreover, the pacing of the series is handled expertly and it never feels like a slog or tiresome despite its longer than usual episodes.
Action-wise, the series also does its job with finesse. Relentlessly violent and consistent, there is a certain weight to the deliveries of its punches. Evans, one of the show’s directors and writers, brings with him the same expertise in choreography that he demonstrated in his Raid films and other works, which is a testament to the show’s prowess in this regard.
Ozark is an American crime drama television series created by Mark Williams and Bill Dubuque. It was starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney as the main characters and revolves around the Byrdes and their family’s dealings with a Mexican drug cartel. Its themes revolve around the complex relationship between crime and money, how far it can go and how it twists and shapes the lives of the characters involved. It is a highly commendable effort in exploring the effects of money laundering and the murky underworld of the drug cartels and therefore, it comes highly recommended.
One of the most remarkable things about Ozark is its understanding of the complexity of money and how it affects the decision making process of its protagonist. Right from its very first episode, it does an extraordinary job in setting up the intentions of the characters, the decisions they make and the effects of those decisions on their lives. Therefore, it becomes a thrilling experience to watch their journey as they dig deep into their psyche, the decisions they make, and the consequences thereof.
The performances in the series are perhaps even more commendable. Jason Bateman, who plays the leading character Marty Byrde, is incredibly impressive and charming, completely embodying his role as the main drug launderer and anti-hero. Laura Linney who plays his wife Wendy is outstanding, adding a strong backbone to the story and providing some truly memorable moments. Together they make an unstoppable pair, and the show runs on their duo’s ability to stay alive and succeed in their mission.
The Outsideris a crime drama miniseries based on the novel of the same name, written by Stephen King. The show centers on the investigation of the violent murder of a young boy in a small Georgian town, and how the mystery entwines with an unspeakable horror from the depths of the woods. Therefore, it requires viewers to stay extra attentive throughout the story, to observe even the most subtle clues to the unfolding mystery.
The show is well written and utilizes the source material very strategically. With a compelling blend of horror, crime and mystery, the show is incredibly watchable and compelling. The characters in the show are all quite fleshed out, with not a single one feeling superfluous or unimportant. The standout in the show, however, is Jeremy Bobb who plays the disturbed and morally questionable detective, Ralph Anderson. His performance is truly remarkable, displaying his character’s dubiety, devotion and desperation in leaps and bounds and often providing the show’s most compelling scenes.
Visuals-wise and direction-wise as well, the show is excellent, perfectly pacing its horror beats while also delivering a realistic atmosphere surrounding the Georgia Town. Cinematically, the show is impressively seamless, immersing viewers completely in the story and providing a truly frightening experience.
The Gentleman is a 2019 British crime comedy that follows a renowned drug lord, played by Matthew McConaughey, as he attempts to leave his business behind and become a respectable entrepreneur. It is written, produced and directed by Guy Ritchie, who also co-wrote and produced the classic Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. First and foremost, the movie is an absolute joy to watch for its remarkable writing, high-quality performances and exaggerated, larger-than-life style.
McConaughey plays the role of Mickey Pearson, the British drug lord, and portrays him with a suited-aura. His character is a smart individual, with a carefully laid out path for the future and he’s the example of the perfect gangster; he’s got charisma and charm, three-piece suits and a gruff, attractive wit. Charlie Hunnam, Hugh Grant, Michelle Dockery, and Colin Farrell are all excellent. Every character in the movie has an arc that’s unique and compelling, and every plotline works well with the rest.
The plot reflects much of Ritchie’s signature style, and it keeps viewers continuously engaged with its multiple characters and their various agendas. It is similar in style and tone to many of his previous works such as those in the Lock, Stock series, but continues to be an ambitious cinematic work of art that is well worth the watch. All in all, The Gentleman is a fun, entertaining and captivating movie that reconfirms Guy Ritchie’s position as one of the most important directors of today.
Gloria Bell is a romantic comedy-drama directed by Sebastián Lelio, starring Julianne Moore in the title role. It tells the story of an older divorcee named Gloria, living a rather mundane life in Los Angeles. The movie follows her as she struggles to find a balance between her conflicting family dynamics, trying to maintain a semblance of balance against all odds.
The movie is entirely driven by Julianne Moore’s performance, who is simply stellar here. She captures Gloria’s inner tumult brilliantly and brings to life the character’s seemingly regular life in all its depth and glory. But even with the great performance, it is the script of the movie that is even more worthy of praise, as it encapsulates the challenges that come with the monotony of life.
The other characters do their job adequately, providing Gloria with the family and friends necessary to build her story. From her, neurotic son Peter to her best friend Arcadio and her admirer Arnold, all of these figures help weave the tapestry of Gloria’s life, allowing for an interesting exploration of the human condition.
The cinematography of the movie is also excellent, with the filmmakers opting to use natural lighting most of the time. This helps the audience to connect to with Gloria’s journey, providing an intimate and realistic glimpse of life. There is also the sound score that does its job in seconding those visuals, never too intrusive or lacking, just enough to accompany each scene. All in all, Gloria Bell is a delightful watch, with both its story and its performance being on point.