FILM: Citizen Gangster starring Scott Speedman
More character study than thrilling heist-capades, Nathan Morlando’s Citizen Gangster is a muted biopic of Edwin Boyd, Canada’s sensationalist bank robber in the year’s following World War II. Boyd, a brooding Scott Speedman, is a former soldier, delusional wannabe actor, but more importantly, husband and father of two, who is determined to alleviate his families financial struggles and “start fresh, start somewhere warm with fruit trees.” The film certainly looks and sounds ambitious for first time director Morlando; much credit for a buzzing, gritty design goes to the cinematographer, art direction and set decoration teams. The real heavy beat of this caper is in The Black Keys assisted heist scenes, with grainy rock hits “Sinister Kid” and “Howlin’ For You.” Boyd, the dashing bandit, orchestrates Canada’s most notorious burglaries, and all too soon becomes reckless, cocky, and to use a Black Keys motif, busted. The film is stagnant, has little chase and has much to learn from Mesrine and Michael Mann. All too often the film feels flimsy and screwball, more Quick Change than loveable George Nelson from the Coen Brother’s O Brother, Where Art Thou? Robbing banks was sport to Dillinger, part Robin Hood romance for “Pretty Boy” Floyd; Citizen Gangster portrays Edwin Boyd as an unbelievable, irresponsible man in women’s makeup.
Citizen Gangster writen and directed by Nathan Morlando and starring Scott Speedman, opens in theaters May 16th.