Lansky is the sophomore feature from writer/director Eytan Rockaway, and is a biographical crime drama about one of the most notorious gangsters in American history, Meyer Lansky.
Lansky, a high ranking member of the Jewish mob, died at the ripe old age of eighty after spending most of his life involved in organised crime, and was never convicted of anything more than illegal gambling. In his teens he formed a partnership with Benjamin “Bugsy” Segal to form a Prohibition-busting gang, and a close childhood friendship with Charles “Lucky” Luciano opened the doors to the Italian mafia.
He specialised in running gambling operations, and at one point even bought an offshore bank in Switzerland to take advantage of that country’s banking laws to hide his earnings and launder the money. Lansky was also involved in anti-Nazi operations in the US, such breaking up meetings of the German-American Bund and, along with Luciano, organising protection for US shipbuilding at the docks in New York harbour. He was heavily involved in the mob’s attempts to expand into Cuba, which ended disastrously following the Cuban Revolution.
He’s been a popular character in both film and television over the years, and this tale based on his life story stars Harvey Keitel (The Irishman) as the aged Lansky, while John Magaro (The Big Short) plays his younger self, as he recounts the story of his life to a writer, David Stone (Sam Worthington – Avatar).
The official plot synopsis is as follows:
David Stone (Sam Worthington), a renowned but down-on-his-luck writer, desperately needs a break. His luck changes when he receives a surprise call from Meyer Lansky (Academy Award®-nominee Harvey Keitel), the Jewish Godfather of organized crime. The retired gangster spins a dizzying tale, revealing the untold truth about his life as the notorious boss of Murder Inc. and the National Crime Syndicate. For decades, authorities have been trying to locate Lansky’s alleged fortune, hundreds of millions gone. This is their last chance to capture the aging gangster before he dies; but Lansky, as always, is one step ahead of the FBI, sending them on a wild chase, evading and outsmarting them at every turn.
Let’s take a look:
Harvey Keitel looks, and sounds, like he’s delivering a great performance as the infamous Lansky. The rest though? It looks rather bland to be honest. If you’re a fan of gangster movies this might be worth your time, but otherwise I don’t think you’ll be missing much.
What do you think?
Lansky is due for release in the US on 25 June. It also stars AnnaSophia Robb, Minka Kelly, David Cade, David James Elliott, Alon Abutbul, Shane McRae, James Moses Black, and Claudio Bellante.
Last Updated: June 1, 2021