Sam Mendes does it with style and attention to detail in this extremely well made 30's gangster film.
Mendes directs and produces this film with a very precise eye and it shows. This film is very beautiful to look at. The edits are really smooth, the visual style is a great take on the period, the sets are gorgeous and the cars are particularly spectacular.
The casting was actually really good, surprisingly, as it was an issue for me initially. I don't generally like Tom Hanks (except for Forest Gump) or Jude Law (except for A.I.), but I overlooked that as I am very interested in the period (the 20's and 30's are my favorites) and I am always keen on an Irish mob film.
Both actors are fairly good in it, however, so if you're not usually a fan, like myself, give it a go and you might be surprised too.
The story is pretty predictable for a film of this type and the acting just flows along with it, which is to say I liked it a whole lot. I don't want to have to think too much with my revenge films and this did not disappoint. I didn't need to think at all, and I just watched this beautifully made film for what it was... a "How To..." movie of the finest caliber.
I mean, if you're thinking of creating visuals, either for film, animation, tv, whatever - this film definitely needs to be added to your list of reference DVD's. For example, the 'money-shot' of the film is a scene where a bunch of mobsters are being gunned down on a rainy night in the middle of the street, in slow motion, in complete silence (bar the relaxing classical music in the background) and its just gold. Pure gold.
There is also an awesome assassination scene in a warehouse that is nicely lit, performed (by Ciarán Hinds) and also in slo-mo, so the gunsmoke is really captured and it makes the scene very pretty in an ugly way.
Paul Newman is fantastic as always, Daniel Craig too (very creepy and it suits him), the kid in it is a bit whatever, but then most kids are.
Other great films in this genre are:
Miller's Crossing & Once Upon A Time In America