Put Chicago Overcoat (2009) On and Relax
If you somehow missed Frank Vincent at the opening of The Las Vegas Mob Experience, you can comfort yourself watching Chicago Overcoat, streeting on DVD April 19, 2011. Enjoy your viewing experience with a bottle of chianti and some nice eggplant parmesan (at least get a pizza).
Frank Vincent is a reliable portrayer of mobsters—he was Billy Batts in GoodFellas and Phil Leotardo in 31 episodes of The Sopranos. Vincent is the John Gotti of mobster-actors, when we see him, we’re seeing what we want to believe all mobsters are like (aren’t you proud of me…I haven’t said “Mafia” once). Americans like gentlemen Mafiosi.
Vincent stars in Chicago Overcoat as Lou Marazano, an over-the-hill “family” man who has been reduced to little enforcement jobs, like smashing up shops when merchants won’t buy “insurance.” When incarcerated mob/union big-shot Stefano D’Agnostino (Armand Assante) puts out a contract on a bunch of witnesses, Lou nearly begs to do it. Reluctantly given the job by Lorenzo Galante (Mike Starr, another GoodFellas veteran), Lou does okay with his first kill, but things get a little dicey with the second. Galante is not happy with him.
Unlikable cop Ralph Maloney (Danny Goldring) is on Lou’s trail, convinced he’s responsible for the current string of murders (the body count eventually reaches twelve—or more), and 16 committed a couple of decades ago. As if Lou’s life isn’t complicated enough, he’s also got a demanding (but loving) daughter, a goofball ex-son-in-law, and a grandson that’s headed down the wrong path. Oh, yeah, and then there’s the girl who’s been waiting twenty years to be something more to him than an alibi.
With despicable mobsters and equally despicable cops after him, we can only cheer for Lou to come out on top. After all, we need a hero. From a moral standpoint, he is a really bad guy, but from the movie’s viewpoint, he’s just a guy doing what he’s got to do to survive (and make $80,000).
Chicago Overcoat is not a great movie. If The Godfather is a “10,” Chicago Overcoat is more like a “5.5.” It’s watchable, entertaining, the acting ranges from adequate to okay, and it will suffice when the viewer is in need of a gangster-flick fix and some tough-guy lingo. What elevates it is that it focuses on an older central character, and includes aging as one of the elements of the story. (Note to the uninitiated: a Chicago overcoat is a coffin).