We, as consumers, are quite easily parted from our hard earned cash, by clever advertising campaign slogans or the fancy title of a movie, and it’s for this very reason we read reviews such as this. A mere glance at the name Once Upon a Time in Brooklyn conjures up images of the giants of 70’s and 80’s Gangster Cinema, Robert De Niro, James Woods and Al Pacino to name but three, and of course, that’s the whole point. The film was originally titled the rather ungainly Goat which, as it turns out is the name of the car owned by Bobby Baldano. After viewing this low budget, mild mannered gangster movie I can understand why the name was changed as it’s not going to be a film that everyone will be proclaiming the new The Godfather. I could be wrong but I’m quietly confident.

Bobby Baldano is played by William DeMeo who starred in Searching for Bobby D. He also, coincidentally, had a part in Analyze That, starring Mr De Niro no less, but he seems to have had more than his fair share of small roles playing Italian American hoods but practice makes perfect, and he is rather good at it. In actual fact the cast was this film’s strongest feature with an impressive list of reasonably well known actors of varying degree of talent with no one doing anything outstanding but rather, gave solid performances. The casting was however another matter, as director Paul Borghese went for the stereotype as opposed to trying something a bit different, taking a risk or attempting subtlety, which is something this entire production lacked. Borghese spoon fed us everything, like the way we knew precisely who and what everyone was simply by looking at them and even the way the clues were practically under lined in bright red pen, it lacked finesse.

What sticks out more in this Indie is what it didn’t have instead of what it did. No sex, no drugs, little swearing, too few killings, no car chases, I mean, the mind boggles, a gangster film? It has an R rating but with very little editing it could have been a PG 13 and the story wouldn’t have been affected. The music was mostly Hard Rock to keep us in the mood but the script was a touch lethargic for such a soundtrack but lip service was paid to the source of inspiration, with an Italian Aria sounding up, in an attempt at style, during a slow motion execution.

While this film has it’s faults, it does have nice touches of style in places, and the production was quite decent when you consider the budgetary restraints. The acting was pretty good all round and the director did reasonably well, with all at his disposal, but all that might not be enough and I know it wasn’t enough for me, so ultimately felt cheated. I felt short changed by falling for a title like Once Upon a Time in Brooklyn. I wish they had stuck to Goat. I really do.

Score: D+

Nav Qateel

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