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Review Gangsta a.k.a. Patser (2018): Oozes with style and couple of good performances but tone wise it's a mess!

genre: crime, drama

Apparently, directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah made this to convince the big time studios they could do Bad Boys for Life. And their style is definitely recognizable. Perhaps a little too much in this one. But I get that they wanted to showcase their skills. In that regard, Gangsta certainly succeeds. 

But... And it's a big but. No pun intended. Gangsta is as predictable and cliché as they come. Plus, the film could have been a lot shorter. It's not like time is taken to explore the characters and dynamics fully. To be honest, that surprised me. The one thing that was full of promise were the relationships between the friends. Especially between Adamo and Badia. A lot more could have been done with that, however the film keeps getting sidetracked with the drug shenanigans. To such extent that it gets annoying. I was watching this on HBO Max and kept forwarding to parts I found more compelling. Besides, if there is one thing I can't stand, it's stupidity. Boy, do these gangsta wannabes test your patience. If they had been criminals in real life, all of them, including the top tier ones, would have been caught or murdered and nobody would have cared. 

Although I did like some performances. Especially Matteo Simoni stands out. He had me totally convinced that he was of Moroccan origin. And he isn't. Besides that, he did manage to have a presence, even when most of his acting is reactive to the events. I wanted to know more about him. There is some background. Only not a lot is done with it. His background could have for example provided some loyalty issues. While cliché, it would have worked better drama wise. I think the comedy elements also didn't quite work. It made everything seem amateurish. Especially when Ali B is introduced as a major villain. He is supposed to be a force to be reckoned with. Only, I had real trouble taking him seriously. Only at certain times he was decent. 

Overall there is enough quality present but if you were hoping for something new and refreshing this won't be the film for you.

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