MOB LAW (1998)
65 mins Super16mm (C4 version)
90 mins 35mm Blow-up (cinema version)
TX March & July 1998
Big Table Film Company for C4
& NonFiction Films, New York
A feature-length film portrait of Las Vegas-based Mafia Lawyer Oscar Goodman, featuring a collection of his mob clients, friends and enemies. The true story behind Casino. With commentary by Anthony LaPaglia.
Winner Best Documentary - Las Vegas International Film Festival
Winner Silver Spire for Best Biographical Film - San Francisco Documentary Festival
Joint Runner-up VPRO Joris Ivens Award for Best Documentary - Amsterdam International Documentary Festival (IDFA)
Also screened in Berlin, Copenhagen, Sydney, Toronto & New York (DocFest)
Damn good. Beautifully cinematic. Ambitious and self-assured.
Mob Law profiles Las Vegas mob lawyer Oscar Goodman, famed in wiseguy circles as the best there is, in his natural element, hobnobbing with clients and touting his lucrative career as an idealistic battle for individuals' civil rights in the face of a sinister, inimical American government, √† la William Kunstler. (Well, you decide.) Clients Joey Cusamano, Dominic Spinale, Dean Shendal, and Charlie Panarella contribute colorful anecdotes to this uneasy portrait, speaking freely from out of the shadows because Oscar says it's OK. Despite a three-person crew, director Wilmshurst and cinematographer Chris Titus King limn Goodman's world in shades of noir worthy of Gordon Willis in his Godfather days
Docfest programme 1998
Images of Goodman walking to temple with his wife Carolyn are cut with scenes where he makes veiled threats in response to Yablonsky's insinuation that judges and juries in Goodman's trials have been bought off or intimidated (He'd better tell me that to my face, if he's big enough!). But this prideful, egotistical and undeniably talented man who sends photos of dead rats to informants cannot be dismissed as merely a tough guy wannabe or an amoral vulture Mob Law is a strange and perturbing film that raises more questions than it answers. Filmed in beautiful, desert-golden colors and backed by Daniel Pemberton's sinister score, it maintains an atmosphere of shady secrets and things left unsaid. And although the final, High Noon-style confrontation between Goodman and Rick Baken -- the former FBI undercover agent who once tried unsuccessfully to entrap him -- is clearly staged, Goodman's fury and disgust (he expected an apology) and Baken's self-righteous vitriol are absolutely authentic.
Las Vegas Review Journal
Read Docfest programme note in full
Read review from Las Vegas Review Journal in full
Read review on Channel 4 website
Read article from San Diego newspaper
Read Amazon review & buy 90' version (NTSC only) online
Oscar's official website as Mayor of Las Vegas
Oscar as guest photographer for Playboy