Review of Bugsy

Bugsy (1991)
8/10
worth watching again- despite hype
9 July 2013
A good film, while not classic, engages the viewer and makes them care about the characters. Today in 2013, we see VERY little of this. Upon re-watching Bugsy this past weekend (although it already has hundreds of reviews) It is worth my noting that its more than watchable, has some notable performances (Annette Bening looks lovely, although the accent is a bit off). Beatty while some trite family scenes and mistress vs. family man theme are utilized, is good.

I avoid all big blockbuster films because: story is what matters. (Maybe not to the demographic that watches trash reality TV) but, I prefer a good film noir with real actors. "Bugsy" delivers an engaging narrative, and plus we have Ben Kingsley as Meyer Lansky (excellent understated performance).

Harvey Kietel, Joe Mantegna, and Elliot Gould also as some of the members of Bugsy's "employees". The sets (especially of Beverly Hills home of Virginia Hill) are lush and interesting. The desert , and the scene of Ben Siegel's (Bugsy's) epiphany that casinos in Las Vegas could be a goldmine for the Mafia and its interests. Of note (and humorous) is Meyer Lansky (Kingsley) intoning that "what Ben is telling us is the desert is a good place to trap people into spending their money"...truer words about speculation and profit motive never spoken!.

Bening looks lovely as Mistress Virginia Hill, a Chicago mob accessory who had deep roots in the organization, if you read her true biography. Intriguing character for certain. Miss Bening is an excellent actress, she assumes the role without the awkward false performances we see in some other bit part actors (Bebe Neuwirth for example, is miscast as Countess Difrasso, and lacks authenticity. Most TV regulars do, in a big film which requires sublime performance, they seem cartoon like and ruin the scene.

Will not spoil the outcome, suffice to say there is adequate suspense, decent performances and an overall narrative that keeps the audience engaged.

Warren Beatty himself engenders some empathy for the character of Bugsy (no easy feat), and while he uses looks to accomplish the persona, it still works. Highly recommended. 8/10.
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