"Back East I was a gangster; out here, I'm God."

Lines like this are what we've come to expect from Martin Scorsese who defined the modern gangster movie, not what we anticipate from Zombieland helmer Ruben Fleischer. Still building his rep in Hollywood, Fleischer has followed his controversial crime caper 30 Minutes Or Less—which was inspired by a real incident—with another true-crime tale, this one steeped in drama and old school swagger.

Based on Paul Lieberman's harrowing book, Gangster Squad centers on the battle that broke out in Los Angeles after the World War II between East Coast gangster Mickey Cohen and the secret police unit charged with bringing him down. At the time the West Coast was a gangster-free zone, making it ripe for the picking for an ambitious and merciless thug like Cohen. Sean Penn stars as the pontificating crime boss, while Josh Brolin, Nick Nolte and Ryan Gosling play the brave coppers who took him on. Check out the film's international trailer below:

While this and the film's first domestic trailer show plenty of action and style, what has me most interested in Gangster Squad are the performances that even in snippets are deeply engaging. Penn seems to be channeling James Cagney with the rhythm of his speech and sly smile. Brolin as a humorless badass is always promising, and Gosling offers something unexpected with his light-toned officer who flirts with death and Cohen's moll (Emma Stone) with the same cavalier attitude. For her part, Stone looks devastatingly glamorous, though it remains to be seen how big a part she'll have to play. Still, it's good to see her reunited with her Crazy, Stupid, Love paramour.

Gangster Squad opens September 7th in the U.S. Find out more about it at our Blend Film Database.

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