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“Gangster Squad” whitewashes the LAPD’s criminal past

If you view Ruben Fleischer’s “Gangster Squad” as a violent period crime thriller in a familiar dress-up vein – as a capable imitation of better movies by Martin Scorsese, Brian DePalma and Roman Polanski – it’s reasonably successful entertainment. It’s got overacting from Sean Penn, beneath a ton of makeup, as legendary Los Angeles mob boss Mickey Cohen, along with underacting from Ryan Gosling as the slightly nebbishy romantic lead and down-the-middle acting from Josh Brolin as its upright cop hero. Add in the digitally re-created, noir-flavored locations of postwar L.A. and the dazzling eye candy of Emma Stone in terrific period dresses and heartbreaking auburn hair and, hey – by the standards of midwinter Hollywood releases, not bad at all.

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