You have prepared a wonderful range of fresh, healthy, and delicious ingredients all ready for you to cook a delicious meal, but the end result is a big pile of tasteless mush. Why? You can’t cook. So when a film has one of the most renowned actors, is based on an amazing real life story, and can play on largely loved themes, yet turns out to be such tasteless mush, then one has to question whether or not its makers can truly “cook.”
Gotti is a biopic about one of the most powerful mobster bosses in American history, and how he came to lead the criminal Gambino family. The film also discusses the effects of his journey on his wife and kids.
Yes, the film is about Gotti, but what about him? Is it how a young lad like him even became a mobster? How Gotti infiltrated the Gambino family and what he did to become its leader? How he was an admired philanthropic figure in society? How his family was affected by his “job”? How his relationship with his son twisted and turned?
In theory, the film discusses all these topics, in reality it never explores any of them well enough for us to say that they are truly explored. In other words, the film completely lacks a centre. There was no punchline at the end of the joke; the film just ran on and on until it became dull.
The horrific thing is that the story seemed quite interesting and the makers of this film seem to have had amazing material for a great film, but the result was a barely coherent mess. Mafia stories have a certain appeal with audiences, especially ones that are based on real people and events. A ruthless mobster boss who evaded several criminal sentences and became a hero because of his role in society, come on, what more would you want for an amazing script? Instead, the script was also a mess; it was full of clichés and cheesy lines.
Travolta is an amazing actor, one that is not to be set aside due to old age. Indeed, if the terrible and cliché lines are taken out of the equation, his performance is amazing. Travolta could have given more if it weren’t for this mess of a film, indeed it could have been an award worthy performance, but the reality is that he was great in a terrible film. Playing John Gotti Jr., Spencer Rocco Lofranco, was mediocre and perhaps eclipsed by Travolta’s raw talent, and also doomed by the filmmakers’ horrible choices.
The only reason this film is not completely and absolutely unwatchable has to be Travolta’s performance in it.