The Disney+ True Crime Thriller Dives Into Mobster’s Empire

By Douglas Helm | Published

Mob movies have long held the attention of American cinemagoers, and many are considered some of the best films of all time thanks to auteurs like Martin Scorcese and Francis Ford Coppola. Of course, the key to these movies is to show the moral corruption of the characters without glorifying them – a tricky balance to get right. One movie that missed the mark in this respect is John Travolta’s Gotti, which you can check out in the Hulu section of Disney+ if you have subscriptions to both services.

Gotti Stars A Stacked Cast

Gotti stars John Travolta as the titular mob boss who controls the Gambino family – the largest and most powerful crime organization in 20th-century North America. The film chronicles his reign over the course of decades. Directed by Kevin Connolly with a screenplay by Lem Dobbs and Leo Rossi, the film also stars Kelly Preston, Stacy Keach, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Spencer Lofranco, William DeMeo, Leo Rossi, and Victor Gojcaj.

The Long Road To Making Gotti

Gotti had a long road to development, as it was first announced in 2010 and didn’t make it to screens until 2018. Before eventually landing on its final cast and crew, directors and actors like Barry Levinson, Nick Cassavetes, Joe Johnston, Lindsay Lohan, Joe Pesci, Ben Foster, and Al Pacino were attached at one point before production began in 2016. The film was almost released in 2017, but distributor Lionsgate ended up selling the film back to the producers and studio, leading to a 2018 release date with new distributors.

Gotti Was A Critical Failure

Lionsgate decided to sell Gotti back, which ended up being the right move because the film bombed both critically and commercially. The movie only made $6 million against a budget of $10 million, and critics universally panned it. The critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes was even 0%, and the film was nominated for six Razzies at the Golden Raspberry Awards.

Gotti And Rotten Tomatoes Controversy

Interestingly, Gotti also sparked controversy after there was a notable gulf between critic and audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes. During opening weekend, the audience score was around 80%, while the critic score held steady at 0%. The audience score has dropped quite a bit since then, but the studio and marketing team for the film were accused of manipulating the score.

However, Rotten Tomatoes did look into it and stated that there was no evidence of tampering with the Gotti score, saying that active accounts were left on the site. However, further investigation by others found that 32 out of the 54 reviews for the film were first-time reviewers and that they only had left one review, coincidentally, for Gotti. Furthermore, 45 accounts were created within the same month of leaving the review.

Gotti Was A John Travolta Passion Project

While the Rotten Tomatoes controversy for Gotti is a bit fishy, it does seem like there are some people who actually like the film, though there might not be many. Some have praised Travolta’s performance while others have lambasted it, and a common critique is that the film glorifies John Gotti as a person and mob life in the process. However, you’ll have to check the film out for yourself on streaming if you want to come to your own conclusions.