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Hoodlum is a 1997 American movie about the NYC Gangsterland during The Great Depression, the numbers racket in Harlem and the subsequent gang wars for control over it. The main conflict is between the black mob, led by Ellsworth "Bumpy" Johnson (Laurence Fishburne), and the Jewish mafia, under the rule of Dutch Schultz (Tim Roth). There are also the Italians, headed by Lucky Luciano (Andy Garcia), but they apparently try to play neutral and keep out of the battles over the numbers racket.
This film provides examples of:
- A Lighter Shade of Grey: For all the atrocities he commits, Bumpy is still more sympathetic than Dutch.
- Amoral Attorney: Thomas Dewey
- Berserk Button: Bumpy apparently really hates having almonds and fudge in his ice cream.
- The Chessmaster: "Bumpy" Johnson. It is even shown explicitly, when he plays chess (being the black side, of course) and knocks over the white king.
- Chess Motifs: See above.
- Corrupt Cop
- Face Death with Dignity: Dutch Schultz. Despite getting shot in a men's room by a ridiculously disposable henchman, he takes it in a calm manner, silences his killer with a look full of contempt and uses whatever life is left in him to walk to a restaurant table to avoid dying near a urinal.
- Foil: Bumpy is erudite, educated and reserved. Dutch is unrefined, unsophisticated and emotional.
- Large Ham: Tim Roth as Dutch Schultz.
- Nay Theist:
Bumpy Johnson: The good Lord and I have an arrangement. I don't go into his house. He doesn't come into mine.
- Nobody Poops: averted. Schultz gets shot at a urinal, right after taking a piss.
- Spinning Paper
- Spiritual Successor: American Gangster
- This Is Sparta: "YOU DON'T. WRITE. A GODDAMN THING. IN HARLEM!!!"
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Especially when it comes to who exactly was behind Dutch's death.
- Villain Protagonist: Bumpy, although he starts out as an Anti-Hero.