Written by Wayne Townsend
Moviegoers might expect Gotti, starring John Travolta in the title role, to be a gangster flick, full of mob assassinations, corrupt police officers, and gratuitous violence. Gotti was supposed to be a chronicle of the career of the infamous John Gotti, reputed boss of the Gambino crime family. The finished product falls painfully short on all counts. The movie’s focus is on Gotti, the family man, his struggles with honor and duty to both his families, ala HBO’s The Sopranos. What we got is non-linear series of vignettes thinly tied together with a Travolta voiceover. Travolta’s real-life wife, Kelly Preston plays Victoria Gotti and is barely more than the stereotypical Hollywood troupe of Italian mothers and wives. The film is directed by Kevin Connolly veteran of another of HBO’s hits, Entourage, and it shows. The editing is choppy, much like an episode of a TV show, moving from scene to scene without any story continuity. Connolly tries to present Gotti as a man whose motivation was honor, and loyalty. In fact, the movie glosses over most of his criminal activity, save the Paul Castellano murder and the tragic accidental death of his son caused by a motorist and subsequent kidnapping and disappearance of said motorist. Gotti wants to tell the story of the relationship between Gotti Sr. and his son, John Jr. Frankly, had Connelly stuck to that aspect he might have succeeded in showing a different side of the man.
There is no new information regarding Gotti’s criminal, only attempts to show Gotti as a folk hero in the manner which Americans romanticize about Jesse James, John Dillinger, Bonnie and Clyde, and of course Al Capone. If you didn’t know the true history, would think Gotti was a subject of a Greek tragedy, instead of the conceited, murderous street thug he was. Save your pennies and wait for Netflix. Something tells me it’ll be there earlier than the producers expect.