Holy crap… Just when you think there is maybe nothing left in the tank for John Travolta and maybe, just maybe his best years are behind him, He goes and does a film like Gotti. Its no secret that Travolta has pretty much settled into his rightful place amongst your Seagals, Van Dammes, Lundgrens and lesser extent Cage, you know the straight to DVD often missed releases. Now take me out of your cross-hairs because I’m not saying this as a slur, often you will find a true gem on that shelf. This movie though is a cut above down to a superb performance from its lead in a role where he strips back all the bells and whistles and straight up acts.
Director: Kevin Connolly
Writers: Leo Rossi, Lem Dobbs Stars: John Travolta, Spencer Rocco Lofranco, Kelly Preston
The story of one of New York’s most famous Gangsters John “The Teflon Don” Gotti. Gotti chronicles the rise to the top from street level earner to becoming the boss of the Gambino family. We see his life being told in a series of flashbacks as he sits in jail basically awaiting death from three forms of cancer. We learn about how he and his mentor Aniello Dellacroce (Stacey Keach) build an empire from inside the organisation. We find out about the heart breaking moments like when he loses his youngest son in a car accident and the heart bursting pride when his eldest becomes a made man.
Actually lets just go there for a moment, yes this movie is about his life and rise but at the real core of it this movie is about a father trying to teach his son that one last bit of life wisdom he can give him. We join the movie a few months before Gotti died in 2002 and a meeting has been arranged so that he can talk to his son who is contemplating taking a plea deal in his trial. Gotti spends the movie tracking back through his life, the highs and lows, the sacrifices and everything that came with it. Hoping to leave his son with something to think about…
I mean essentially that is the plot and yes it is a story we have seen done many times even the story of John Gotti has been told on the big and small screen. However what I liked about this particular version are those scenes of peace and reflection between a son and his old man, they strip all the other stuff away and its just John Travolta and Spencer Rocco Lofranco acting across from each other. I am going to point out though while Lofranco does a great job in the role, Travolta is on another level here. Don’t get me wrong it is fantastic seeing a Gangster movie with some style and class instead of your usual heavy handedness but those scenes are where it lives.
Yeah this is a solid recommend from me as you may have suspected, its a great story well told, equal parts of Violence, Humour and Heart. The main cast are spot on… Oh hell I never even touched on Kelly Preston, Magnificent as usual playing the Lorraine Bracco role effortlessly and of course she and Travolta work well together (but that’s to be expected). The supporting cast are all great, no real complaints there, Stacey Keach and Pruitt Taylor Vince both on point. You get a real sense of authenticity from the movie as well which makes sense when you realise Travolta has been with this film for near on ten years after being personally asked by the Gotti family to play the role.
In summation you can do a lot worse than this flick, I personally really enjoyed it and was hooked from the moment we meet an old haggered John Travolta. Although I will also say he is looking damn good for his age considering how he looked in that OJ show but then I guess that was the role. My question is does the hat go deeper? could we be seeing a timely resurgence from JT. Man I hope so.
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