Mob movies have been popular for quite a while now since Goodfellas, Casino, The Godfather, and a few others have set the pace for such movies and have been what people tend to think of when they’re watching anything that’s even remotely related to the mafia. But while a lot of mafia movies are either deemed as great, moderate, or even mediocre, Gotti has been given a great deal of shade since it was released. One might wonder how anyone could fault John Travolta, who’s a legend in the business, but then again, one has to remember that he’s managed to put up a few duds in his career that weren’t entirely horrible but weren’t all that great either. Gotti comes off as a serious attempt at showing the life of a man that, in real life, was a hero to some and a villain without a chance at redemption by others. It does depend heavily on how those who knew him viewed the man, but it would appear that quite a few people would agree that Gotti was, without any doubt, a dangerous individual who put on an air of respectability that came off as easily as an overcoat.
A lot of people have different standards when it comes to mafia movies.
At one time, The Godfather was the gold standard of mob movies, then it was Goodfellas, and things continue to change. How the mafia was really run back in the day is best left to the history books since movies tend to muck things up quite a bit. The writers and directors take artistic license, the real mob, those that exist, might not want to see their past besmirched in such a way, and so on. But the truth is that a lot of mob movies are meant to follow a certain pattern since stepping too far out of the realist view of how things were back in the day ruins the whole effect of the movie. As far as Gotti goes, many people have their own views on the real individual, and this movie was bound to get a few things wrong since that’s the nature of the beast, as the saying goes.
One has to remember that it’s about the entertainment value, not the accuracy.
For one reason or another, the stories that have been compiled concerning the mafia are extremely entertaining to a lot of people who want to know what was going on during those days. A lot of what happened during the height of the mafia’s influence is bound to be incorrect since Hollywood directors love to exaggerate certain things, but there are grains of truth in some of the stories that have been told throughout the years. Gotti was a man that was larger than life in many ways, and thinking that his story was going to be blown up to certain proportions wasn’t surprising in the least since he did something that not a lot of people in the mafia have ever done, and he did so in a manner that managed to get him noticed by people far and wide. The fact that one can say the name Gotti and see recognition in the eyes of so many, even these days, is impressive.
Portraying someone like Gotti was bound to present challenges.
Given the fact that there are still those who were related to Gotti alive to this day and those who were around him, it’s easy to think that a lot of voices might have been raised or at least heard during a project such as this. Accuracy is still fairly important in a movie like this to make certain that people don’t become so offended that they feel the need to sue or take other action. While the power of the mafia isn’t nearly as strong as it used to be, there’s no need to tempt fate when it comes to displaying someone that was considered to be one of the most powerful members of the mafia at one time. It’s very likely that there are still people out there who would gladly strike back in Gotti’s name if only to maintain his legacy as the Teflon Don.
There will always be critics.
In all honesty, Gotti wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t on the same level as a lot of other mob movies, but it wasn’t worth the shade that it’s been given. Travolta did what he could with the character, and again, while it wasn’t perfect, it was enjoyable enough to be considered entertaining and even kind of insightful. It’s expected that he would come up with a way to make Gotti feel like an insidious and aggressive character, but if anyone remembers the history of the man, they’ll know that it wasn’t entirely off the mark.
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