The Gangster (2012/Blu-Ray/Magnolia Pictures) Review

Honor. What is honor? How is it defined? The measure is boundless. The conduct determines the man. All our lives, we build. Legacy is an interesting thing. “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” The ifs are devastating. Application sours the milk. How, what, why, beneath the guesses sits the truth. The chisel is posterity. Who’s to say what will fall. Saddam, Hitler, Vito Corleone, they were loved and then came the wind. Drama is reared from such irony. The Golden Boy turned bad is Hollywood gold. Good intentions drift away. As does youth and love. What is a gangster? 

Cagney, Bogart, Raft, the lifestyle proves larger than life. The mystique not unlike chemistry entices you in. A wisecrack, a chin, the Tommy Gun, Warners eked out a living with cops and robbers. The grapefruit, “Look ma!”, “the end of Rico”, the old wives’ tale cropped up. The glee became a mask. You couldn’t go a year without one. The 30’s lit the fuse. Paul Muni, Lee Marvin, the mobster meant money. In the end, justice was served. The Production Code demanded it. Crime begat crime and luck cleared the ledger. 
 Cars, women, an attractive life, Elvis Presley exploded. The swiveling hips gyrated everywhere. The feeling infected the globe. Long hair, James Dean, “I reminiscence about the days of old.” The golly gee of a simpler time smacked headlong into the open. Combs, moose, a whisper of cool, the fake and fabulous held sway. Brando’s shirt, the allure of the in-crowd, the only thing missing is “Father Knows Best.” Society was on the cusp. Godzilla eat your heart out. The cities were stuffed with teens. Dobie Gillis ruled the world. 
 Settling on the hero worship of one man, the story fixates on Jod (Krisada Sukosol Clapp). A straight unhesitating force, Gangster sands away the rough exterior. Killings, Red Lobster, The Wild Bunch, Jod is the real deal. Teamed with Daeng (Somchai Kemglad), their bond feeds the film. A quilt of double takes and half-remembered truths, the sweep shuttles judgment. The generations collide. The Star Search needs no audience. Recruits are already standing by. Fanboys, treachery, you never know who to trust. The new replaces the old. Any hood is Ed McMahon. 
 Flashbacks, interviews, we peer behind the wall. The prose are real people. The boys and the men, the winners and losers, the big scares, the stories are all the same. The gains never last. Like musical chairs, one never reads the ending. Vignettes, cliché, few listen to reason. Depravity is “must-see TV.” History repeats itself. Lost friends, collateral damage, the ghosts of the past live on in the telling. “There are eight million stories in the naked city.” This is one. 
 The Magnolia presentation is spotless. The video is strong in every respect. Interiors, group scenes, this swims in detail. Sweat and hair tear at the screen. The audio provides a thundering Thai 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track with the option of an English 5.1 DTS-HD dubbed alternative. Each muscles the soundfield and evokes everything you would want from surround sound. The extras include a making of documentary, a minute of behind the scenes footage, the international trailer, and a sampling of trailers from other Magnolia titles. The disc is faultless. I’m dumbfounded. Any fans of gangster or crime film should buy this immediately. The Gangster is a modern classic and I don’t say that lightly.

 4.5 out of 5 scalpels!

- B.L. Matthews 

Director: Kongkiat Khomsiri 
Lead Actor/Actress: Krisada Sukosol Clapp 
Genre: Gangster/Crime 
Blu-ray Release Year: 2013 
Theatrical Release Year: 2012 
Time Length: 115 minutes 
Rating: R 
Region Code: A 
Release Company: Magnolia Pictures 
Website: http://www.magpictures.com/