Mary Poppins Returns
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All Critics (5)
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A strong contender for laziest mob movie ever made, the Boston-set Italian mafia tale "By the Gun" proves that what was once thrillingly exotic and coolly dangerous about gangster films is now hopelessly monotonous.
It's a confident composition impressively made for a paltry $3 million and it takes place in Boston's North End, where, among the outbreak of yuppie gentrification, the vestiges of the old school Mafia somehow still rage.
While By the Gun does incorporate much of what you'd expect from films of its ilk, it's also surprisingly self-aware.
Cliched, confused and thoroughly unnecessary, "By the Gun" features a meaty role for Boston rapper Slaine ("The Town") as Nick's best friend George, but writer Emilio Mauro deep sixes the character's early promise in a laughable "Mean Streets" ripoff.
Certain scenes in By the Gun pack a powerful punch, but it doesn't coalesce into a satisfying whole.
When a man takes the oath to become a made guy in the Mafia, he promises to put the family before anything else. For most gangsters, this never becomes an issue, but for Nick Tortano (Ben Barnes) it becomes the basis for an impossible decision. A series of events lead Tortano into having to decide between his new family and his old one. Either choice means that someone he loves will become a target, and he has to decide, who in his life is the most expendable. Most films about the Mafia follow a very specific pattern, leading people to say all these films are the same. There is some truth to that, but By The Gun is certainly an exception. The film follows a new member is a small family and the story told from his point of view, giving us a very different look at La Costa Nostra. Ben Barnes stars in one of his first leading roles and was outstanding. Barnes, mostly recognized as an ancillary character from the Chronicles of Narnia series, finally steps into the spotlight and shows that he has what it takes to star. I was impressed with the story and setting of this film, but I wasn't crazy about the cast, in fact, there were several actors who really brought the quality of this movie down, but Ben Barnes wasn't one of them. His performance really added some legitimacy to this film and if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be recommending it at all. By The Gun is not your typical Mafia movie, because Nick Tortano isn't your typical gangster. He has a conscience that comes into conflict with his life of crime at every turn and watching him decide the fate of everyone he loves was really something worth watching.
The crime thriller By the Gun is a fairly mediocre and stereotypical film that relies mostly on clichés and stereotypes. When small-time mafia henchman Nick Tortano gets made his loyalty is soon tested; forcing him to choose between his blood family and his new mafia family. Starring Ben Barnes, Leighton Meester, Toby Jones, and Harvey Keitel, the casting is pretty good. But, the characters are underdeveloped and don't have much depth to them. And, the plot is very straightforward and predictable. Following all of the usual tropes of mob film, By the Gun is rather bland and uninspired.
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