In the unimaginable event that you haven’t had the date circled on your calendar for months, Friday marks the US release of Gotti. An authorised John Gotti biopic, eight years in the making, starring John Travolta as the late mob boss, the film has weathered more bust-ups than many a low-rent mafioso.
It passed through the hands of multiple directors, including Oscar winner Barry Levinson, before trickling down to Kevin Connolly, the maestro perhaps better known for playing Eric “E” Murphy on the HBO bro-fest Entourage. (Yes, he’s made films before: who could forget 2007’s Gardener of Eden, a Tribeca premiere still awaiting reviews on Rotten Tomatoes?) Al Pacino, Joe Pesci and Lindsay Lohan all flitted in and out of the ensemble. And last year, 10 days away from its scheduled opening through distributor Lionsgate, the film was pulled: producers, deciding they wanted a wider release than the one the studio cautiously had in mind, exercised the buy-back clause in their contract.
Industry - Rule - Kind - Hollywood - Backstory
As an industry rule, this kind of Hollywood backstory does not tend to augur an artistic triumph, even with the fairytale twist of Gotti securing a last-minute premiere slot at the Cannes film festival. (More on that dubious turn of events later.) And unless you’ve come to Gotti for anything but the bizarre quasi-camp spectacle of Travolta channelling the Teflon Don via Tony Soprano via the Dolmio dad – in a truly dazzling array of crunchy-looking wigs – it’s fair to say Connolly’s lurid Noo Yawk story doesn’t disappoint. But its failings are rich and varied, minor and major; just as Gotti himself eventually went down on 13 charges ranging in severity, let’s list the film’s offences in roughly ascending order of egregiousness.
Yes, we’re starting small, but it’s a nagging error all the same: natural-born proofreaders will note that hyphens...
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