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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

The Diner, the Typewriter, and the Tape Recorder

Lansky on IMDb

Plot Overview

“Lansky” merges three (curtailed) dramas into one story. A one book—on Kennedy—wonder David Stone (Sam Worthington) drives to Florida to inter­view former under­world mogul Meyer Lansky (Harvey Keitel) who wants him to write a memoir of his life. Stone is feeling the pinch from his separated wife and hopes for a wind­fall to satisfy his respon­sibil­ities. He'll encounter a temp­tress Maureen Duffy (Minka Kelly) down there in the sun.

star of Davidwoman in fur coatLansky is a “wandering Jew” who came to America as a boy and saw more opportunity here than did his father. He married flapper Anne (Anna­Sophia Robb) who thought he seemed “harmless,” and she liked the fur coat he promised her. When word got out how he made his living, though, Mrs. Lansky didn't care much for what that did to her reputation.

The FBI after decades of trying and failing to get an indictment on Lansky has given up, but Special Agent Frank Rivers (David Elliott) gets wind of the book inter­view and per­suades his superior to let him have another go at him. But it may be too late. As writer Olen Steinhauer once observed:

For half a century we were distracted. We let the wrong people grow stronger, so that by the time we were able to look directly at them and see them for what they were, it was too late to draw up search warrants and set court dates and frog-march them in orange vests to Leavenworth. (3)


spudA glimpse of the world of big crime is tempered with a small-potatoes discussion of how to make it in this life. (Prov. 30:24) “There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise:”

at the library(Prov. 30:25) “The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer.” The first thing to do is start working when you're young, in the summer of life. Lansky tells the writer, “When I was a young boy, I spent my days at the public library. I read every­thing.” He had an “interest in numbers” and in historical perspectives. Observing a dice game in the alley he used his facility with probability to discover, “They rigged the game.” He started by putting a nickel down and went on from there. J.B. Mozley D.D., in his sermon on Temptation treated as Opportunity observed:

Scripture says, (Isaiah 5:8) “Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field.” … Men add one house to another, and one field to another, and one sum of money to another. Because they have lands, and because they have money, it seems to them only the proper consequence of their situation that they should have more lands and more money. (20–21)

plowing(Prov. 30:26) “The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks.” Location is paramount. In Russia they were doomed to remain peasants, but thanks to Lansky's father they moved to America, land of opportunity. New York was a hot bed of criminal activity, and he could expand from there.

accountant at desk(Prov. 30:27) “The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands.” It is important to form personal liaisons. Lansky formed a partner­ship with Ben “Bugsy” Siegel (David Cade) in the boot­legging and gambling racket. Lansky crunched the numbers and Bugsy provided the muscle. They were “more than partners,” they were “like brothers.” Then they joined up with Charlie “Lucky” Luciano (Shane McRae.) Eventually they were able to consolidate Italian, Jewish, and Irish gangs into the National Crime Syndicate.

money bags(Prov. 30:28) “The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces.” Eventually Lansky was able to find his niche as top gangster in history by moving his operation to Cuba known back then as the Monte Carlo of the Caribbean. He acquired an offbeat legitimacy being in tight with President Batista himself.

Production Values

” (2021) was directed by Eytan Rockaway. The story was written by brothers Eytan Rockaway and Robert Rockaway. It stars Harvey Keitel, Sam Worthington and John Magaro. Keitel was commanding as the old mobster telling all. John Magaro playing the younger Meyer Lansky had big shoes to fill and did his best. The rest of the acting seemed adequate.

MPAA rated it R for strong bloody violence, language and some sexual references. Much of the story is told in flash­back, focusing heavily on the late 1930s and the 1940s. The movie was shot in a 20 day rush. The elegant surroundings and patterned back­drops leant them­selves to some nifty camera shots, which the cameraman took full advantage of.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

Meyer Lansky is pointedly atheistic and/or secular but his wife castigates him for his immorality and points out, “God sees you.” Cuba back then was known as “the Sodom of the Western Hemis­phere.” God judged Sodom with fire and brim­stone, and Batista was over­thrown by Castro who shut down gambling and nationalized what­ever he could; bye, bye private fortunes.

In this movie we get a glimpse of organized crime which fascinates people, but that story is broken up by the other two dramas, which makes the movie artistically interesting rather than hard core action. It's supposedly true to life, although the author was a fictional addition. It's an interesting movie, but not a heart-stopper.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Decent action scenes. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Three and a half stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quotations were from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software. Print.

Mozley D.D., J.B. Sermons Parochial and Occasional. New York: E.P. Dutton and Co., 1880. Print.

Steinhauer, Olen. The Last Tourist. Copyright © 2020 by Third State, Inc New York: Minotaur Books, 2020. Print.