Film Noir : Gangster films: The Death of a Genre

Gangster films: The Death of a Genre

From today's guardian, an article about, and review of Live By Night, the new film by Ben Affleck. Here's a link to the article:

The reviewer pans the movie as well as the classic American gangster film and hopes that this film proves to be the "death knell" of the genre.

...Affleck clearly hopes to provide not mere entertainment, but a critique of US capitalism – and in so doing illuminates the essential hypocrisy of the gangster genre. He wants to be the bad guy and the good guy at the same time.

I think that gangster films have always differentiated between the gangster as the central character in the story and the gangster as some kind of a "good guy." To do otherwise would be to undermine the allure and appeal of the gangster. Above all else he's not a good guy; he's a ruthless killer, has no respect for law and law abiding citizens, and treats women badly. He's not Robin Hood. I really don't see the hypocrisy, essential or otherwise, that the author thinks is inherent in the genre.

The gangster now stands way below the superhero in modern movie myth-making.

That's for sure. Today's movie going demographic barely remembers The Sopranos and think that Pacino, DeNiro and Scorcese are well beyond the point of being relevant. I'm not a Ben Affleck fan and wonder if he has he fallen into the same hole that stars who direct themselves (I'm looking at you, Clint Eastwood) fall: it's not enough to just be the central character, they have to have transcendent qualities that transform them into mythic characters.

Re: Gangster films: The Death of a Genre

As one of the comments to the article says:

If the writer was trying to put me off watching this, they didn't do a very good job.

Re: Gangster films: The Death of a Genre

The death of the gangster film means the death of the anti-hero and he don't die, except when he's censored away and then he ain't really dead, he's just lying low.

If to stand pat means to resist evil then, yes, neighbour, we wish to stand pat.