(John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Stacy Keach, Spencer Lofranco, Pruitt Taylor Vince, et al / Blu-ray+Digital / R / 2018 / Lionsgate Films)
Overview: 'Gotti,' starring John Travolta, reveals the relationship of a father who lived and died by the mob code and a son who, while brought up to lead a life of crime, chose to leave that world behind and redeem himself and the Gotti name.
Blu-ray Verdict: In truth, 'Gotti' is actually very entertaining and not nearly as bad as some critics / friends have suggested. Travolta does a great job, minus the cheesy open and closing narrative scenes, of course, which could have so easily been taken out.
Alongside Travolta as Gotti, Kelly Preston (Travolta's wife in real life) stars as his wife Victoria, and Spencer Rocco Lofranco (Unbroken - and more on him later in the review) and Chris Mulkey (Whiplash) do their best to hold their character ends up in their supporting roles.
As aforementioned, the movie itself documents Gotti's early beginnings coming up in the Gambino crime family, the death of his son after being hit by a car (Travolta and Preston acting out their grief in these scenes felt very real after the two recently lost a son themselves), and his ultimate incarceration, death, and culminates with the legal troubles of his first born son, John A. Gotti.
So, what were the critics saying those things for against the film, if I'm seeing it as well as I say I am, I hear you ask? Well, and playing Devil's Advocate, the problem with this movie was not its content (which was about average, but nowhere near worth the poor reviews it has received thus far), but for the main fact that there is nothing new to be learned by watching it about the Gotti reign.
Gotti already had a film in 1996, starring Armand Assante, and it was great. There was virtually no new information from this version which I didn't already know from watching Assante, some twenty-two years ago.
An additional problem with this film is the genre itself, namely the Italian Mafia. In a society where dominating male characters are currently not being heavily shopped the timing of this film seemed off.
Also, in terms of films depicting the Italian Mafia, there is nowhere to go but down. While loyal fans of the genre like myself wait patiently for the next Goodfellas to hit the screens, or the next Sopranos to grace my television set, there will be dozen's of Gotti's to ultimately come up short.
I could be wrong, but it is likely we will be waiting for a long time for the resuscitation this genre of movie desperately needs.
Anyway, that all said, and back on 'Gotti' track, the actual screenplay by Leo Rossi and direction from Kevin Connolly mesh nicely enough, although I would have loved a more "Rat Packish" soundtrack score to it.
So yeah, in closing, Travolta carries the picture, but a BIG mistake was made in selecting the actor for the Junior Gotti part. Spencer LoFranco makes a nice appearance, but lacks acting ability and does this movie no favors. The rest of the cast is good and all actually come off as credible 'gangstas'! This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.38:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.