The Classic Mobster Movie

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By DANIEL REITER

And here it is.
After the curveball that was “My Cousin Vinny,” I finally found that classic mobster movie that Joe and Dan talk so much about. That standard tale of the rise and fall of mobsters as they fight with not just other families but the government as well.
What really stood out to me in this film was the tonal shift between the two running hours.
In the beginning, we see Henry’s growth through the gangster racket and enjoy the “positives” of being in the business. Everyone has a connection, everyone hugs and kisses, and everyone is part of the family.
Yet while Henry enjoys the rush and power that comes with being a gangster, we slowly see the brutality of the genre specifically with Tommy, who is erratic and seems to kill anyone who pisses him off.
And through all of this, Henry looks very out of place.
He was never the kind of person who got physical and killed; it was the others (like Jimmy) who did. But as the second half of the film rolls along, Henry is put in an environment that exemplifies all of the horrors of the business.
When the Lufthansa Heist goes south, the intensity picks up as gangster after gangster gets whacked and we are left with only the major players. And after Tommy is surprisingly killed, I was constantly on edge every time Henry and Karen were on the screen.
With all of his options exhausted and feeling death coming his way, Henry makes the surprise move to rat out the rest of the crew and go into witness protection.
While I was kind of hoping that this would explain the narration throughout the film, it still worked well in in signifying the defining moment of the film.
It wasn’t until the end that I remembered this is based on a true story, which, frankly, made it more intense and memorable.
I have finally seen that type of role that Joe Pesci is known for and was left quite impressed. Now I just need to wait for next mobster movie assignment like maybe “The Godfather.”
I think Joe and Dan would both like that.

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