‘Lansky’ Review: Harvey Keitel Propels an Uneven Biopic About Notorious Mobster Meyer Lansky
“People see the same thing from different perspectives.
And that fascinates me,” Harvey Keitel notes in an early scene while playing the title role in “Lansky,” writer-director Eytan Rockaway’s ambitious but uneven biopic about the notorious mobster Meyer Lansky.It’s tempting to read this snippet of dialogue as Rockaway’s way of acknowledging, right from the start, that his indie drama is yet another interpretation of real-life events previously recounted, with varying degrees of accuracy, in features and TV movies as diverse as “Virginia Hill,” a half-forgotten 1974 TV-movie that marked Joel Schumacher’s debut as writer-director; the 1999 HBO production “Lansky,” starring Richard Dreyfuss and directed by John McNaughton from a script by David Mamet; and Barry Levinson’s “Bugsy” (1991), featuring Ben Kingsley well cast as Meyer Lansky opposite Warren Beatty’s Bugsy Siegel.
Truth to tell, however, comparisons to those predecessors don’t always work in Rockaway’s favor.
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