Film Review: John Travolta Captures the Life & Times of ‘Gotti’

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CHICAGO – Probably the last classic era of romanticized organized crime (mafia, mob, etc.) in New York City was the reign of John Gotti… the high profile boss of the Gambino family from 1986-1992. Nicknamed both the Dapper Don and Teflon Don (because of his ability to avoid prosecution), he is brought back to life by John Travolta in the sparely titled “Gotti.”

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

The film is directed by Kevin Connolly, who portrayed “E” on HBO’s “Entourage,” and he takes a Citizen Kane-like approach to telling the story, jumping around in the eras of Gotti’s reign, anchored by his relationship with John Jr., who followed in his father’s footsteps until desiring to leave the “life” and avoid prison (the film used John Jr.’s book “Shadow of My Father” as its centerpiece source). There is a lot of material in the film, but it is buttressed by John Travolta’s tour-de-force performance of the title character, and the use of actual news footage to flesh out the different prosecutions of Gotti’s life. If you are fascinated by the New York City ethos of organized crime, then “Gotti” will take you on that mystery trip.

The film opens with a dying John Gotti (Travolta) meeting with his son John Jr. (Spencer Lofranco) in the late 1990s during his incarceration in federal prison in Springfield, Missouri. The meeting frames John Gotti’s story, expanding on his life before and after becoming the boss of the Gambino crime family. It also is a final confrontation between father and son, as John Jr. desires a different path.

The essential characters of John Gotti’s life are peppered throughout the biography. His wife Victoria (Kelly Preston, Travolta’s real life wife), his mentor Aniello Dellacroce (Stacy Keach), his best friend Angelo Ruggiero (Pruitt Taylor Vince) and Sammy “The Bull” Gravano (William DeMeo) all have a role in the rise and fall of this high-profile Godfather. But can he forgive his son for wanting to walk away from it?

For a video interview with John Travolta of “Gotti,” by Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com, click here.

”Gotti” had a nationwide release on June 15th. See local listings for theaters and show times. Featuring John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Spencer Lofranco, Stacy Keach, Pruitt Taylor Vince and Lydia Hall. Screenplay adapted by Lem Dobbs and Leo Rossi. Directed by Kevin Connolly. Rated “R”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Gotti”

Gotti1
John Travolta is the Title Character in ‘Gotti’
Photo credit: Vertical Entertainment

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Gotti”

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