- 1 hr 59 min
Lansky is a biographical crime film that was released in 2021. The film tells the story of Meyer Lansky, a notorious mobster who is loosely based on the real-life criminal of the same name. The movie is directed by Eytan Rockaway and stars Harvey Keitel as Meyer Lansky, Sam Worthington as David Stone, and John Magaro as Tony "The Joe" Bender.
The story of Lansky is told through a series of flashbacks, with Stone serving as the film's primary narrator. Stone is a former journalist who has become an author, and he is attempting to write a book about Lansky's life. He meets with the now-elderly Lansky, who agrees to tell him his story in exchange for a cut of the profits from the book. Stone is initially skeptical of Lansky and his version of events, but he eventually comes to believe that the old mobster is telling him the truth.
The film delves into the life of Lansky, starting with his childhood in Russia and his emigration to the United States as a young boy. As a teenager, Lansky gets involved in organized crime, and the movie portrays him as intelligent, ambitious, and ruthless. Lansky becomes a key player in the criminal underworld, and he is portrayed as having a hand in some of the most infamous incidents in mob history, including the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.
Throughout the movie, Lansky is pursued by law enforcement, and he has several tense run-ins with the FBI. However, he manages to avoid prosecution by becoming an informant and providing information to the government about other mobsters. In one memorable scene, Lansky even meets with J. Edgar Hoover, who is played by John Magaro.
Keitel delivers a strong performance as Lansky, bringing depth and complexity to the character. Despite being a criminal, Lansky is portrayed as a sympathetic figure, with the movie emphasizing his humanity and the toll that a life of crime has taken on him. Worthington is also solid as Stone, serving as a grounded and relatable counterpoint to Lansky's more flamboyant persona. Magaro is effective in his brief appearances as Hoover, portraying the FBI director as a man who is both powerful and insecure.
The film's pacing is deliberate, with some scenes feeling a bit slow or drawn out. However, the movie is visually interesting, with scenes set in the past being shot in black and white, which helps to give them a distinct feel. The soundtrack is also effective, with a mix of period-appropriate jazz and more contemporary music providing an interesting contrast.
One of the key themes of Lansky is the idea of the American Dream, and how it can be corrupted by greed and ambition. Lansky's story is framed as a kind of cautionary tale, showing how a man can rise from humble beginnings to become a kingpin, only to have it all come crashing down around him. The film also touches on issues of identity and assimilation, as Lansky struggles with his Jewish heritage and his place in American society.
Overall, Lansky is an engaging crime drama that offers a fresh perspective on a familiar subject. Keitel's performance is a standout, and the film's exploration of themes related to the American Dream and identity make it feel like more than just a typical mob movie. While it may not be the most exciting or action-packed film, Lansky is a thoughtful and well-crafted portrait of a complex figure.
Lansky is a 2021 crime movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 59 minutes. It has received mostly poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.2 and a MetaScore of 45.