Directed by Danny Devito, who also stars in the biopic film with John C. Reilly, Robert Prosky, Kevin Anderson, Armand Assante, JT Walsh, Natalia Nogulich, and of course, Jack Nicholson as corrupt Teamster Union leader Jimmy Hoffa.
Told through the eyes of Bobby Ciaro (an amalgam of several Hoffa subordinates), who joins Jimmy Hoffa one night after he witnesses Hoffa and a friend fire bomb a laundromat that refuses to join the Teamsters. From there Bobby becomes Hoffa’s right hand man. The movement leads to strikes, which leads to violence, which leads to connections to the mafia, and an epic showdown with Robert F. Kennedy in the court of law. It shows the violent history of the Teamsters and how their so-called “fighting for labor” leads to control, power, and finally corruption.
The movie attempts to show that despite Hoffa becoming corrupt, what he did was still good. He lead the fight for labor and at the time, workers were treated like garbage. However, what the Teamsters did in taking advantage of their pension fund, helping the mafia ship contraband, and on and on and on, failed totally short of being justified. In the end, you feel angry that such a founder of the modern labor movement was such a horrible man.
While the acting and the story in the film was good, it fell a little short with the way the story flows. It heavily fictionalizes and over dramatizes history, but that is not in itself unusual. Many biopic movies do this. What really surprised me was the portrayal of Bobby Kennedy. Though Bobby is going after Hoffa and the Union’s corruption, Bobby, normally a darling of Hollywood and the Left, is portrayed as an opportunist that is trying to score political points. I thought it was a tad dishonest.
That was my overall problem with the film. It was trying to make a man who was a liar, corrupt, and took advantage of the very people he said he protected into some kind a martyr for his movement. It seemed to be a lie. Maybe that was the point.
FAVORITE QUOTE: We all get old, then we die.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Brief nudity, strong violence, and very strong language
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