There are some negative reviews out about the film Gotti, now available on DVD and Blu Ray. But believe it or not, Gotti is a really good movie.
The film stars John Travolta as mob boss John Gotti over three decades, following him from his first hit to his rise to being named the “Teflon Don” heading up the Gambino Crime Family.
The film Gotti took the long road into viewers’ homes. The film was in development for years, with Al Pacino attached to star at one point.
Eventually the film landed Travolta in the lead role and Kevin Connolly as director. It began photography in 2016 and concluded filming in 2017.
The film was originally slated for theatrical release in December 2017, but two weeks prior to release, distributor Lionsgate sold the film back to the producers. A new release date was set for June 2018.
Gotti finally premiered at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival to mixed reviews and had a limited release in theatres but failed to earn much at the box office.
All that aside, the film now available for home viewing and in the opinion of this critic, it is a triumphant performance by Travolta, worthy of Oscar consideration.
Travolta has long been known for his ability to play both heroes and villains, and his interpretation of Gotti straddles both sides of the line. The actor does not shy away from the grotesquely violent and crude elements of Gotti’s personality. On the flip side, however, Travolta keeps away from a one-dimensional characterization, showing the charisma of Gotti as husband and father.
Travolta’s real-life wife Kelly Preston portrays Gotti’s wife Victoria. She, too, gives a stellar performance, even though unlike her husband, she is not Italian.
It’s not a perfect movie. There is an introduction and finale that involves Travolta’s Gotti breaking the 4th wall to talk directly to the audience. I didn’t like these scenes. They felt contrived and seemed like band aids put on an otherwise quality movie at the last minute to clarify the story when it really didn’t need it. Breaking the 4th wall just didn’t need to be done in the case of this film.
Because the film was a box office flop in theaters, chances are Travolta won’t get consideration for an Academy Award for Best Actor. This is disappointing because he really does a convincing job of playing the mob boss.
As far as mob movies go, Gotti doesn’t belong on the same shelf as The Godfather and Goodfellas, but it is a quality movie filled with great performances.
Peace. Love. Trust.