28th Sep2018

‘Gotti’ DVD Review

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: John Travolta, Spencer Rocco Lofranco, Kelly Preston, Pruitt Taylor Vince, William DeMeo, Leo Rossi, Chris Kerson, Stacy Keach, Ashley Drew Fisher, Chris Mulkey | Written by Leo Rossi, Lem Dobbs | Directed by Kevin Connolly


John Travolta’s ten-year passion project, titled Gotti, has had a troubled road to production, numerous setbacks from many issues that range from lawsuits brought on – with the infamous casting of Joe Pesci, who was cast and allegedly put on considerable weight for said role, only to be negotiated for a smaller less significant part in the production, leading to a still ongoing lawsuit. The casting of Lindsay Lohan caused a catastrophe with numerous filming days wasted and her eventual firing resulted in further delays. Meanwhile, further issues with directors caused riffs with story and studio, reinforced with the tragic and untimely death of Travolta’s son Jett Travolta, who tragically passed away at the age of 16. All this in the midst of what was meant to be Travolta’s magnum opus, his sweet swan song to critics who believed him to be finished. In his adversary, and to his credit, Travolta eventually and finally finished his passion project, while the verdict and sentence were seemingly already out.

Let’s get straight to the point here. Gotti is a massively disappointing venture about one of the most vicious and astonishing characters in recent criminal history, that leads a story to anticlimactic and underwhelming fashion. Everything here is far too coarse and flat. The pacing is far too quick and aggressive for its own good, treading over multiple eras and stories in such quick succession its somewhat hard to even place what’s occurring in the story – which is structured poorly with excessive usage of voiceover and narration. It is these incredibly opaque, inadequately rushed stories and dull sequences that make Gotti ever-so mundane; nothing creates spectacle or intrigue with a story that only brushes against the evil and terror this family caused.

Travolta does put forth a decent enough performance with emotional weight, arguably his best since From Paris With Love, almost a decade previously. His love and commitment to the material is ever so clear and forthright, although the material at hand doesn’t dive any deeper than surface level emotional commitment, any distance travelled to explore the detailed soul of Gotti is inexplicably wasted with such inadequate and sparse depth; ultimately affirming his as somewhat of anti-hero rather than the villain he was on record as being. Book-ended bizarrely by breaking the fourth wall with zero resonance and strangely never alluded too within the film… presumably an afterthought in post-production to accommodate re-shoots, tragically and unsuccessfully executed.

The score by Pitbull does very little to impress. It’s far too out of place and incredibly incompetent to be included in a film that needed its score to be far more sombre and bleaker; rather than scored to the energetic rush of an electronic EDM-lite introduction and epilogue. It all comes to a head when one looks at the ticket sales and target audience, it’s clear they had no particular audience in mind and in that case, as what any Hollywood studio would do, is to throw everything and anything together, hoping something sticks. In this case, Gotti is one of the unfortunate ones that never seemingly got out the gates to begin with.

Gotti is out on DVD and Blu-ray now from Lionsgate.


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