American Gangster

Based on the life and times of gangsta superstar, Frank Lucas, who eventually became a heroin kingpin by traveling to Asia's Golden Triangle to make connections, shipping heroin back to the US in the coffins of soldiers killed in Vietnam. The story follows the rise and falls of Lucas and the down and out honest cop hot on his trail.

Ridley Scott lays down yet another great film in a genre full of champions. Maybe a hair below the classic spirits of Godfather, Casino, and Goodfellas but still a noble film with powerful performances and a darker grit. Everything about Denzel is of power and control. He moves through the frames like The Kong of all celluloid, playing all the cards and traits that we know and love him for. You don't try filming Denzel Washington, you just try to capture him.

Back with "my man" for the first time since Virtuosity, Russel Crowe rolls the dice exactly as you would expect. He digs deep, gains a little weight, and throws around a sledge hammer with the best of 'em.

American Gangster reminds me a lot of Mike Mann's HEAT in the vein that Scott had two rival actors, Denzel and Russ, duke it out the entire film yet the two never act in the same frame until the last thirty minutes of the movie.

Don't expect a lot of action or movement. Just sit back and relax as two cinematic power houses play the game we love.

PS. You gotta love Doc Bloc playin the dirty cop.

Reviewed by: shea
5 Comment(s)
Josh said...
As much as I really really wanted to love this movie, I just couldn't. The trailer was amazing and I felt like I HAD to see this movie. But upon watching it, it just felt like there was something missing. I can't exactly put my finger on it either. The acting is near-perfect, and Ridley Scott was on top of his game (like usual), but overall I walked away with a bland taste in my mouth.
Shea said...
Yeah I totally agree with you. Especially in hindsight. There is no doubt this film will disappear out of sight and out of mind.
Paul said...
I see what you guys mean. However, I loved the ending, the relationship b/w Denzel and Crowe. While this movie may get filed away as a worthy and well-done, yet not mind-blowing film...I felt like that wrinkle set it apart from some of the others in the same genre.
haha... you should check my own review for this movie. I didn't really like it at all. It'll be soon forgotten and it wasn't, by far, Denzel's best performance whatsoever.
Andy said...
Forgotten and irrelevent. So many other movies I saw last year have already pushed American Gangster to the dark corners of my mind. I can't have it taking up valuable space.