Citizen Gangster

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Citizen Gangster
Film poster
Directed byNathan Morlando
Produced byDaniel Bekerman
Written byNathan Morlando
Music byMax Richter
CinematographySteve Cosens
Edited byRichard Comeau
Distributed byEntertainment One
Release date
  • 10 September 2011 (2011-09-10) (TIFF)
Running time
105 minutes

Citizen Gangster is a 2011 Canadian biographical drama film directed and written by Nathan Morlando.[1] Scott Speedman stars as Canadian gangster and alleged murderer Edwin Alonzo Boyd.

The film originally premiered at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival under the title Edwin Boyd, but was retitled Citizen Gangster in general release.


A veteran of World War II, Edwin Boyd (Scott Speedman) is disillusioned and barely getting by as a Toronto bus driver. With his wife Doreen (Kelly Reilly), whom he met in England during the war, and two young children to support, he finds it increasingly difficult to make ends meet. Adding to his dissatisfaction, Boyd has deep, unfulfilled dreams of making it as a star in Hollywood, a desire frowned upon by his retired policeman father (Brian Cox).[2]

In a moment of desperation, Boyd grabs an old pistol, disguises his face with theatrical greasepaint, and goes out to rob a bank; this sets off a series of events leading to one of Canada’s most infamous crime sprees.

Boyd forms a gang, which includes Lenny Jackson (Kevin Durand), Ann Roberts (Melanie Scrofano), and Val Kozak (Joseph Cross). Jackson is also a veteran of WWII, and with his muscular build is the picture of the hardened criminal. There is an uneasy relationship between him and Boyd, given the attention lavished on the latter by the media; yet the two of them, both war vets, have a deep, unspoken brotherly bond. Val Kozak (Joseph Cross) is in a similar bind as Boyd, with a young wife and a desperate need to support his family. But he is also carrying on an affair with Mary Mitchell (Charlotte Sullivan), a fur-coat-wearing, flashy blonde party girl, whose flamboyant facade reveals a woman with past hurts and a deep-seated need for love and attention.[2]

The foil to the gang’s mayhem is Detective Rhys, (William Mapother). A sombre family man who takes his work seriously, Rhys is the face of law enforcement in the movie, constantly on the gang’s trail.[2]

Boyd's marriage grows increasingly strained. Despite the fact that Boyd’s initial motivation was a bid to provide for his young family and prove himself as a man, the nature of his lifestyle proves too much for her to handle.[2]



Filming began February 17, 2011 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.[3]


Citizen Gangster premiered at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.[4] IFC Films distributed it in the United States.[5]


As of June 2020, the film holds a 53% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, based on 15 reviews with an average rating of 5.5 out of 10.[6] Metacritic rated it 56/100 based on 9 reviews.[7] Linda Barnard of the Toronto Star rated it 3/4 stars called it a "carefully crafted, sympathetic examination of Canada's most notorious bank robber".[8] Joe Leydon of Variety called it "generally low-key but sporadically exciting".[9] Jeannette Catsoulis of The New York Times wrote, "Citizen Gangster is a good-looking but passionless affair that remains stubbornly aloof from its audience."[10] Gary Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times called it a stylish but overly familiar film whose main draw is Speedman's performance.[11]

The film won the award for Best Canadian First Feature Film at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.[12]

The film garnered three Genie Award nominations at the 2012 Genie Awards: Best Actor (Speedman), Best Supporting Actor (Durand) and Best Supporting Actress (Sullivan).[13]


  1. ^ Smith, Ian Hayden (2012). International Film Guide 2012. p. 85. ISBN 978-1908215017.
  2. ^ a b c d May 4, 2012 (May 4, 2012). "TRUE STORY OF CANADIAN GENTLEMAN-ROBBER BROUGHT TO LIFE IN "EDWIN BOYD: CITIZEN GANGSTER"". Retrieved 25 July 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Vlessing, Etan (February 2, 2011). "Scott Speedman to Star in True-Crime Feature 'Edwin Boyd' (Berlin)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 7, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ Punter, Jennie (August 9, 2011). "Toronto fest unveils 26 Canadian pix". Variety. Retrieved April 7, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ McNary, Dave (October 27, 2011). "IFC Films nabs 'Edwin Boyd'". Variety. Retrieved April 7, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "Citizen Gangster (2012)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 7, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "Citizen Gangster". Metacritic. Retrieved April 7, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ Barnard, Linda (May 10, 2012). "Edwin Boyd: Citizen Gangster: Scott Speedman plays notorious Canadian bank robber". Toronto Star. Retrieved April 7, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ Leydon, Joe (October 3, 2011). "Review: 'Edwin Boyd'". Variety. Retrieved April 7, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ Catsoulis, Jeannette (April 26, 2012). "Trailing Toronto's War Veteran Turned Bank Robber". The New York Times. Retrieved April 7, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ Goldstein, Gary (May 4, 2012). "Review: Scott Speedman propels a stylish 'Citizen Gangster'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 7, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ "The people choose a surprise: Small Lebanese film triumphs over rivals with higher profiles". Toronto Star, September 19, 2011.
  13. ^ Barnard, Linda (January 17, 2012). "'Café de Flore', 'A Dangerous Method' lead Genie Awards race". Toronto Star. Retrieved April 7, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

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