Movie Monday: Bugsy 1991
Do you like ganster movies? They are a faaaavorite guilty pleasure of mine! I hate violence in real life, and I know these movies depict actual villains who did really terrible things. Maybe it’s because I know those tommy gun toting stool pigeons have since been vanquished, but I have no problem at all watching all of their craziness unfold onscreen. In fact… I love, love, love it. And what if they all looked like Warren Beatty? That woud be even better, eh? So if you like gangster movies, and since I like gangster movies, let’s talk about one I just watched for the first time. Bugsy.
Bugsy is a meandering look at the personality of Ben Siegel (Warren Beatty), otherwise known as Bugsy. The movie begins by introducing Ben as a shameless mob member, who also happens to be a good ol’ American boy who hates communists, liars, thieves, and cheats. He’s got a nice wife with two kids, works hard to bring home the bacon, and justifies his extra marital affairs because, eh, he loves his wife, right?
Okay, okay, so he works for the mob. People learn to look the other way. And they learn to never call him Bugsy. He has the attitude of the neuveau riche– no concept of his money ever running out, of someone telling him no, or of not getting exactly what he wants when he wants it. And that’s how he falls in love with the strong-willed, hot headed Virginia Hill (Annette Bening), who begins to shape the rest of his extravagant life.
I enjoyed watching this movie that intimately follows only a short period of Ben Siegel’s life. All of the actors seemed to do a phenomenal job channeling their characters. Of course, I don’t know how accurate the biographical aspect is, but Mr. Siegel seems to have been a pretty crazy fellow. And crazy people tend to make good subjects for biographical films, in my opinion. There really wasn’t much mob action, which could be a disappointment to viewers who want to see violent shootings and U.S. Marshal chases. This movie is really a character study of one guy alone. Just don’t call him Bugsy. He may beat your face off.