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Bugsy (DVD)

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Genre: Drama / Theatrical Release: 1991 / Director: Barry Levinson / Actors: Warren Beatty, Annette Bening ... / DVD released 13 October, 2003 at Uca Catalogue / Features of the DVD: PAL

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    Bugsy represents an almost miraculous combination of director, writer and star on a project that represents a career highlight for everyone involved. It's one of the best American gangster movies ever made--as good in its own way as any of the Godfather films--and it's impossible to imagine anyone better than Beatty in the movie's flashy title role. As notorious mobster and Las Vegas visionary "Bugsy" Siegel, Beatty is perfectly cast as a man whose dreams are greater than his ability to realise them--or at least, greater than his ability to stay alive while making those dreams come true. With a glamorous Hollywood mistress (Annette Bening) who shares Bugsy's dream while pursuing her own upwardly mobile agenda, Bugsy seems oblivious to threats when he begins to spend too much of the mob's money on the creation of the Flamingo casino. Meyer Lansky (Ben Kingsley) and Mickey Cohen (Harvey Keitel) will support Bugsy's wild ambition to a point, after which all bets are off, and Bugsy's life hangs in the balance. From the obvious chemistry of Beatty and Bening (who met and later married off-screen) to the sumptuous reproduction of 1940s Hollywood, every detail in this movie feels impeccably right. Beatty is simply mesmerising as the man who invented Las Vegas but never saw it thrive, moving from infectious idealism to brutal violence in the blink of an eye. Director Barry Levinson is also in peak form here, guiding the stylish story with a subtle balance of admiration and horror; we can catch Bugsy's Vegas fever and root for the gangster's success, but we know he'll get what he deserves. We might wish that Bugsy had lived to see his dream turn into a booming oasis, but the movie doesn't suggest that we should shed any tears. --Jeff Shannon