On the surface “By the Gun” is a straight-up wise guy flick that debunks the American Dream and evokes such classic mob staples as “Goodfellas” and “Scarface.” Two things distinguish “By the Gun” in its own right, however: It’s a confident composition impressively made for a paltry $3 million and it takes place in Boston’s North End, where, among the outbreak of yuppie gentrification, the vestiges of the old school Mafia somehow still rage.

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