Movie Review: ‘The Brooklyn Banker’ Is One Of The Best Mob Movies In Years

The Brooklyn Banker is one of the best mob movies I have seen in years. The preceding sentence probably makes this sound like a fantastic movie, but I will point out that I do not watch too many mob movies; it was never really a genre that held my interest. That being said, I did like the characters and story of this movie; especially the main character, Santo, a banker who is a whiz with numbers trying to make a better life for his family without getting caught in a life of crime. However, the proverbial “sins of the father” threatens to drag him into that life whether he likes it or not.

Santo (Troy Garity; Boss, Barbershop), as the title would suggest, is living in Brooklyn and just got a decent promotion at his bank. He is married with two kids, soon to be three, living in a shrinking apartment with finances not yet allowing them to move. His father-in-law, Benny (Paul Sorvino; Romeo + Juliet, Law & Order, many others) tries to help by getting him in with the local mob boss, Manny “The Hand” (David Proval; Mean Streets, The Sopranos, many more), who has a rep of removing the hands of people who fail him.

The impressive thing about Santo is his talent with numbers. He is repeatedly shown to be very fast at calculating numbers and has an excellent memory for numbers. It is this talent that makes Manny insist on his help as there has only been one other man with such an impressive command of numbers that Manny trusted. This may not be a very exciting talent for some moviegoers or genre fans, but I was intrigued.

There is some violence, but nothing really shocking. Internal struggles and subplots about different races moving into the neighborhood lead to violent confrontations that mostly could be considered subdued for a mob movie. Other subplots, like the introduction of the Secret Service agent seem to offer no real contribution to this film but instead, his part especially, appears to be a setup for a sequel; which I would not mind checking out if they make one.

Relatively new to directing, Federico Castelluccio (who has appeared in The Sopranos and The Decoy Bride) may not make a name for himself from this film, but he is off to great start. Same with first-time writer Michael Ricigliano, whose only previous credit is a short film, Lily of the Feast, from which The Brooklyn Banker was expanded. I look forward to checking out their future works.

The Brooklyn Banker is well-constructed with great actors and a decent overall storyline. If you have limited interest in mob movies, you may or may not like this film. I like numbers, so Santo’s ability held my interest well enough, though the criminal scheming that is mob life almost lost me.

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