How entertaining? ★★★☆☆
Thought provoking? ★☆☆☆☆
4 April 2012
This article is a review of GANG STORY.
“A sleeping thug is a thug, Momon,”
The credits say this is based on a true story, but the antics stretch credibility, and begs the question how much of GANG STORY is factual? If you don’t worry about that and overlook the bland title (in France it’s called LES LYONNAIS – cooler, right?), this is a slice of slick cops and robbers hokum that passes the time easily. Jumping backwards and forwards in time as memories are triggered (not quite in a Proustian sense), we look at the criminal life and motivations of Momon Vidal, played with great charisma by Gérard Lanvin. He was the leader of ‘The Lyon Gang’, five thieves who went on a robbery spree. Now with grandchildren they mostly lead a quiet life. However, Momon’s BFF Serge Suttel (Tchéky Karyo) is still at it. Not only is Serge at large from the police for over a decade, some unsavoury gangsters want him dead too. In a WILD BUNCH-stylee these long-in-the-tooth, but still tough-as-nails, hoodlums try to rescue him.
Director, and ex-cop, Olivier Marchal turned in a hugely enjoyable modern day COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO-esque take, 36 (a.k.a. 36 Quai des Orfèvres) with Daniel Auteuil and Gérard Depardieu. I had quite high hopes for GANG STORY. While he continues to be ploughing the Michael Mann crime furrow, looking at friendship and loyalty, he doesn’t have the Hollywood maestro’s verve and attention to detail. This engages if you like the genre, which I do, but it evaporates in the memory too quickly.