GOTTI – A Review by John Strange
John Gotti was a Mafia boss who gained nation-wide notoriety as a member of the Gambino crime family in New York City. In Gotti, the movie made from John Jr.'s book about his father takes a look at his father's life in a series of flashbacks interwoven with a meeting they had in John Sr.'s later life in a prison conference room. The elder Gotti looks terrible because he is riddled with cancer.
As the flashbacks begin we see a young Gotti as he begins to make his way up in the organization. His forte? He is a hitman. Yep, he kills people and then goes home to his wife and kids where he is the loving husband and father.
That is the dichotomy of John Gotti's life. Hitman by day (or deep night as the bosses desire) and the rest of the time he is the father/husband who takes care of the people in his neighborhood. Whether that is re-opening a boxing gym to allow the local boy to progress in his skills or throwing parties for holidays like July 4th, his visibility was never tainted by how he came by his money.
We see many scenes of Gotti being the ruthless killer and loyal Mafia soldier. We see a man who feels he is thumbing his nose at the legal system even when that system sends him to prison. He even tells one of his bosses that her doesn't trust anyone who hasn't spent time behind bars. This is a man whose belief in the system he was born into is rock steady. It is a belief he instills in his children.
Gotti had many nicknames over the years. The two that are perhaps the most infamous are "The Teflon Don" and "The Dapper Don". The first is because of the number of arrests that failed to get him incarcerated in his early life thanks to witnesses turning up dead or missing. The second was due to his love of clothing. He loved to wear expensive suits and shoes and drive expensive cars.
The story is one many of us knew at least a little bit about. While I enjoyed finding out more, it was not a story that young ones need to see or learn about. The story is well told overall but the use of flashbacks can be difficult to follow. Many people will get lost in them. For that reason, I have to give them an A- for their effort. Well worth watching but not everyone will enjoy the level of violence and the flashbacks.
Directed by: Kevin Connolly
Cast: John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Stacy Keach, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Chris Mulkey, Spencer Rocco Lofranco
MPAA Rating: R (for strong violence and pervasive language.)
Selig Rating: A-
Runtime: 105 Min.
Movie Site: gotti-movie.com
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.