20 December 2011 | bmcd10
Underrated, yes; epic, not quite.
Bugsy is a typical gangster/mob movie; it has got the wise guys, the families, the family problems, and a tragic flaw in the protagonist. It is also 2 1/2 hours long, which you should expect with any biopic anyway, but I think it can get a little tedious in some areas. First off, Warren Beatty is brilliant, and there is no question in my mind that it was anything less than perfection. His supporting cast's performances were excellent as well including those of Harvey Keitel, Ben Kingsley, and Annette Bening. The film probably deserved all the Oscar nominations it received, but, with the exceptions of Beatty's performance and a couple technical awards, nothing deserved the Oscar. However, I do not want to give a bad impression of this film because it does deserve some approbation.
The story of Bugsy Siegel is indeed a true story. Siegel was a New York Jewish gangster, who moved out to L.A., and one thing led to another and resulted in Bugsy building the Flamingo hotel and casino in the middle of the desert. This is the man who put Las Vegas on the map. Bugsy (by the way, don't call him Bugsy to face) is very insane. Also, Kingsley's character gets to introduce Bugsy's tragic flaw: he doesn't "respect" money. This combination makes one very unique mobster that I can not compare to any other. Just wait for the scene relating to dogs and pigs; I don't want to reveal anymore because this is where Beatty shines.
Virginia Hill (Bening) is a cookie cutter actress going steady with one of Siegel's or somebody else's soldiers. Bugsy starts to look fondly on her, and thus starts the romance. There should be no surprise whatsoever since they're married in real life, but Beatty and Bening do have great chemistry on screen. Their relationship brings out a lot of fun in the film.
Again, Bugsy is a tragedy. I don't think that's spoiling it since you can learn that somewhere on the Internet, but I do want to let you know what you're getting into. It is a very interesting story with a few laughs and some irony here and there. Barry Levinson made a well-constructed film that flows very nicely and only lacks where I assume the screenplay does. I would not say it is at the caliber of Goodfellas or The Godfather Trilogy, but, all in all, it is a pretty decent movie.
I highly recommend that you definitely see it.