Meyer Lansky, the historical figure who carried the moniker the “Mob’s Accountant,” receives another biopic on Lansky. Arriving from Vertical Entertainment, the film is written and directed by Eytan Rockaway. Harvey Keitel steps in the title role portraying the aging gangster in his final years, while John Magaro represents him during his younger years.
David Stone (Sam Worthington), a renowned but down-on-his-luck writer, has the opportunity of a lifetime when he receives a surprise call from Meyer Lansky (Harvey Keitel). For decades, authorities have been trying to locate Lansky’s alleged nine-figure fortune, and this is their last chance to capture the aging gangster before he dies. However, with the FBI close behind, the Godfather of organized crime reveals the untold truth about his life as the notorious boss of Murder Inc. and the National Crime Syndicate.
Meyer Lansky has always been a gangster that I wanted to know more about since Patrick Dempsey portrayed him in 1991’s Mobsters. Everyone from Dustin Hoffman to Ben Kingsley has portrayed the crime figure on screen in a supporting capacity. However, there has not been a film primarily focused on Meyer Lansky himself in over two decades.
One of my favorite film genres is a biopic. I am particularly ecstatic when a biopic uses the device of having its subject tell its story to a reporter. Much to my dismay though, Lanksy is a letdown for the fascinating criminal figure. Like most biopics, there is not enough time in the film to properly divulge into the subject’s background.
Case in point, during his youth, Meyer meets his girlfriend for the first time, and a few moments later they are married. It makes matters worse with AnnaSophia Robb, who is miscast in the role. The talented actress just did not come across as believable. The same sentiment carries over to Minka Kelly. As a fan of Kelly, sadly, she is only here for eye candy purposes. The arc given to her character validates this notion.
Harvey Keitel and John Magaro are good in their portrayals, in any case. Both men play the characters with just the right amount of gusto. Sam Worthington was also enjoyable, and it is always good to see him on screen until we get the next Avatar film. Perhaps the more substantial route would have been to focus on Meyer Lanksy just as an elder or the character in his prime. Unfortunately, the mixing of the two does not mesh.
Lanksy is not one of 2021’s worst; however, it is a dull film. Thus, I am only going to recommend it to fans of Harvey Keitel.
Final Grade C-
Lanksy is showing in Select Theaters & is available On Demand now.