Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese sure make it look easy. Based on their many classic works, some may think telling an engaging mob story is all about some blood and laughs. Throw in an engaging premise and some interesting characters and with just a little work, audiences will be treated to a classic. Time and countless knockoffs have proved it is not that simple, however.
Clover is the story of the Callaghan brothers. The two have gotten themselves into financial problems that have led them to involvement with the local crime kingpin Tony Davolio. Thankfully, it seems the two have been given a way out of their debt. However, when they become involved with Davolio’s son and a teenaged girl, a cat and mouse game begins with the highest stakes.
The story may be too familiar to some. As the trio runs to say alive, they meet an assortment of wacky characters. This includes a pair of assassins planning for life afterwards, a former girlfriend who still has amorous feelings, and Ron Perlman comparing humans to wolves. The plot has its twists and turns, but not much will surprise the audience.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. Clover puts its characters in many fun situations. There is a particularly well done sequence in an abandoned train station, for example. It is when the film steps away from its typical genre leanings that it truly shines. There is also a great running theme throughout Clover. Various characters will mention the timeliness of death in comparison to the living. Wrapped in all of the movie’s chaos, there is the idea of what death means to others and its effects. It is an idea that could have been explored more.
Mob movies are a popular genre for decades. Clover uses many of the tropes that make audiences enjoy them so much. Things become even better when the story goes outside the mob movie box. There is also good use of humor sprinkled throughout the film. There are some pacing issues that prevent it from being something truly special, but fans of the film type should enjoy it.