While Chicago Overcoat lacks the strong stories of Goodfellas or Casino, it makes up for it with great cinematography.
The movie follows the story of aging Chicago mobster Lou Marazano, an undervalued wiseguy who spends his days handling collections instead of running the show. Played by Frank Vincent, Lou lives a modest life in a simple apartment, caring only about the well-being of his daughter and grandson. To usher in his retirement, Lou dusts off his guns for a final series of contract killings. But the tension mounts as friends become enemies, and a weathered detective closes in on him.
The good news is that Chicago Overcoat was shot surprisingly well. There's quality cinematography, great use of shadows, and an overall noir vibe to the film. This was director Brian Caunter's first feature film, and he does an excellent job with the visuals.
Frank Vincent, better known as New York boss Phil Leotardo from the Sopranos, offers a solid performance as an old-school mafioso. Armand Assante only gets a few minutes of screen time as Lou's imprisoned boss, but puts his all into the brief performance. Vincent is reunited with former Sopranos actress Kathrine Narducci (Charmaine Bucco), who stars as Lou's beautiful former mistress.
There are only two aspects of the film that kept it from showing in theaters. The first is that the story isn't that original or moving. It's not a boring flick at all, but it lacks spark. Too many elements of the movie are what you'd find in Heat, Goodfellas, or a number of other mob flicks.
The other downside is that some of the cast is too weak to keep up with Vincent, Assante and Narducci. Danny Goldring is horribly miscast as the liquored-up and obsessed detective on Lou's heels. Much of the cast hams it up and exaggerates their performance, which unfortunately gives the film a low-budget feel. Vincent himself gives a good performance, but isn't given opportunities to show much range.
DVD Extras include a Q&A with the cast and crew on their definition of a "Chicago Overcoat", and a behind-the-scenes look at one of the movie's more memorable shootout moments. It also includes a variety of deleted scenes, as well as an alternate ending.
This is easily one of the best-shot movies you'll find at Redbox, and it's definitely worth a watch. The visuals are dark and beautiful, and even if the story could be better, it's a worthwhile rent.