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The Independent Critic

STARRING
Sean Faris, Milo Gibson, Jason Patric, Peter Facinelli, Jamie Lynn Sigler
DIRECTED BY
Timothy Woodward Jr.
SCREENPLAY
Ian Patrick Williams
MPAA RATING
NR
RUNNING TIME
88 Mins.
DISTRIBUTED BY
Cinedigm Entertainment Group
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 "Gangster Land" a Solid, Entertaining Gangster Flick 
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It's not easy to pull off a convincing gangster flick, a sub-genre of filmmaking practically defined by Scorsese, but director Timothy Woodward, Jr. puts forth a solid effort with this low-budget entry coming up from Cinedigm Entertainment Group that takes a familiar story and adds compelling elements to it with Gangster Land, a film produced by James Cullen Bressack and a host of others and starring Sean Faris (Never Back Down) as Jack McGurn, an essentially good kid when we meet him working as an amateur boxer who has resisted the urging by friend and up-and-coming Italian mafioso Al Capone (Milo Gibson) to get involved with the business. 

However, when his father is slaughtered by Bugs Moran's (Peter Facinelli) crew and it's obvious that paid off cops have no intention of doing anything about it, Jack is drawn into Capone's ranks and quickly rises in the ranks and eventually becomes Capone's second in command. McGurn's determination to exact revenge on Moran's Irish mafia coincides with growing tension between Capone and Moran, a tension that helps build toward the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, a massacre from which there may be no way to possibly turn back. 

Between the challenge of creating authentic production and costume design and the inherent difficulties involved in developing effective special effects on a modest budget, it was difficult to know what to expect from Gangster Land. 

My worry was for nothing. 

While the film's budgetary constraints are occasionally evident, Gangster Land is an effective and involving film led by Faris's slick, convincing performance as McGurn and with a strong ensemble cast of familiar and unfamiliar faces and even a few actors where you're likely to find yourself exclaiming to the screen "Hey, I know them!" 

You do. You really do.

Pablo Diez's lensing is pristine yet period appropriate, while kudos must be given to Christian Ramirez for production design, Erica D. Schwartz for stellar costuming, and Samuel Joseph Smythe for an original score that helps to heighten the film's tone. 

Gangster Land is a stylized, fun to watch gangster flick that may tread familiar territory yet does so in a way that involves and entertains and leaves you satisfied. Headed to theaters for a limited release with Cinedigm Entertainment Group in December, Gangster Land would be a quality diversion from the usual holiday fare. 

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic 

    The Official Rating Guideline
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    • C: 2 Stars
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    • D: 1 Star
    • D-: .5 Star
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