“This life of ours is a wonderful life. If you can get away with it.”
John Travolta is no stranger to crime movies. His resurgence on the small screen, playing litigator Robert Shapiro in The People vs. OJ: American Crime Story, brought him back in the spotlight in a big way. He continues in similar form in the new trailer for Gotti.
Gotti tracks the rise and fall of John Gotti, New York gangster and boss of the Gambino crime family. The trailer actually tells us a lot about the basic tenets of the movie. There are requisite gun violence and that movie mobster strut; father-son moments and the wifely outsider. Travolta appears youthful and aged depending on the frame, indicating the kind of widespread timeline the movie will deal in. Overall, Gotti looks ready to tackle some age-old mob movie questions: where do these mobster characters draw the line on crime when their thirst for power is insatiable? What happens to their legacy after they’re caught?
After being stuck in development hell for a good while, Gotti was finally greenlit in 2015, with Kevin Connolly of Entourage fame in the director’s chair and Travolta starring. With not only John Gotti Jr.’s blessing but active involvement as key advisor in the production process, there’s considerable authenticity cred.
Hollywood loves biopics but it also really likes mob movies anyway. These films provide prime acting ground, particularly of the Oscar bait variety. It’s no surprise then that the trailer features so much of Travolta’s performance. Truthfully, it feels like we’ve seen the whole movie in two minutes. Nevertheless, as he oscillates between cocky King of the World, misguided family man, and withered ex-mob boss, Travolta performs with an energy that’s reminiscent of his early work, especially stuff from his 90s heyday in crime films. The ensemble cast is made up of mostly character actors, a move possibly done to ensure nothing detracts from its clear star. Kelly Preston, Stacy Keach, Pruitt Taylor Vince and more play the moving pieces on Gotti’s chessboard, at least until he’s betrayed.
Gotti hits theaters December 15, 2017.