Based on the true story of Edwin Boyd, a notorious bank robber and leader of the infamous Boyd Gang. Disillusioned with his life after returning from WWII, Edwin Boyd is determined to follow his dream of becoming a Hollywood star. However, with the need to provide for his young family and jobs in short supply, his dream seems destined to remain just that. He decides the best way to achieve his goal is to rob banks - Hollywood style. But his actions lead him down a path to danger, tragedy and prison.
Based on the true story of Canadian WWII vet Edwin Boyd first time director and screenplay writer Nathan Morlando explores here one of those local legend stories that those on the outside often fail to appreciate.
Having returned from the war with Germany Boyd tries his hand at acting, having always dreamt of becoming a Hollywood movie star, unfortunately for Boyd he just can’t seem to cut it and one day he simply runs out of patience. After failing at yet another audition Boyd raids his wife’s make-up and grabs his Army service gun and almost completely on a whim decides to star robbing banks.
Now we all know the story of the charming bank robber, I won’t mentioned a certain Warner Bros classic but we’re all thinking it, well stop, Citizen Gangster is no way comparable to most things you’ve seen before. With the limited budget the film doesn’t offer lots of fast and high class action, whilst the period setting doesn’t really suit crazy car chases, what the movie does offer however is some innovative camera operation and well developed directing skills. The performances are reasonably good, most notably that of Scott Speedman in the lead role and of his wife, played by Kelly Reilly, who unfortunately is not given any where near enough narrative space or time to truly explore her character.
Unfortunately for the film there are a few aspects of it that are almost a little slapstick for my liking, the jail escapes for example, though they may be entirely true (which I doubt) are fairly hard to swallow; lacking in believability or imagination, instead we are offered a hacksaw hidden in a wooden leg. Personally I felt that issues such as these, as well as the rather predictable and stereotypical development of Boyd’s gang were just enough to stop this film reaching the ambitious heights it set for itself.