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American Gangster 2007

In 1970s America, a detective works to bring down the drug empire of Frank Lucas, a heroin kingpin from Manhattan, who is smuggling the drug into the country from the Far East...

Release Date:
November 2, 2007
Duration:
157 min
Director:
Ridley Scott ...
Cast:
Enrique Sebastian Rivas, Louis Rosario, Luis Salgado, KaDee Strickland, Armand Assante, John Ortiz, Cuba Gooding Jr., Norman Reedus, Jon DeVries, Kathleen Garrett, RZA, Ted Levine, Brian Albanese, Sarah Hudnut, Linda Powell, Sam Freed, Carla Gugino, Monique Dupree, Jon Polito, Yul Vazquez, Eddie Rouse, Idris Elba, Ray Wineteer, John Cenatiempo, Sandra Park, Eric Silver, Fatima Robinson, Roger Guenveur Smith, Neville White, Scott Dillin, Joe James, Brigid Turner, Chuck Cooper, Janelle Cambridge, Josh Brolin, Richard Nixon, Russell Crowe, Cedric Sanders, Ritchie Coster, Joe Morton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mark A. Keeton, Eddie Goines, Kelvin Hale, Kal Cauthen, Albert Jones, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Bari K. Willerford, Tacuma Vanterpool, Kevin Corrigan, Joseph Ferrante, Robert C. Kirk, Malcolm Goodwin, Denzel Washington, Lymari Nadal, John Hawkes, Ruby Dee, Skyler Fortgang, Common, Warner Miller, J. Kyle Manzay, T.I., Melissia Hill, Quisha Saunders, Robert Funaro, Tom O'Rourke, Tom Stearns, Jim R. Coleman, Lee Shepard, Gavin Grazer, Roxanne Amandez, Pierra Francesca, Maryann Urbano, Jason Veasey, Roosevelt Davis, Roger Bart, Mitchell Green, Saycon Sengbloh, Conor Romero, Daniel Hilt, Daniel Farcher, David Spearman, Maurice Ballard, Paul Doherty, William C. Tate, George Lee Miles, Jason Furlani, Chris McKinney, David Wayne Britton, Tommy Guiffre, Laurence Lowry, Dan Moran, Marjorie Johnson, Larry Mitchell, Kevin Geer, Chance Kelly, Hamilton Clancy, Joey Klein, Anthony Hamilton, Jeff Greene, Tyson Hall, Kirt Harding, Bryant Pearson, Al Santos, Lil Chuuch, Christopher A. Sawyer, Dylan Gallagher, Jehan-Pierre 'The Preacher' Vassau, Dawn Douglas, Robbie Neigeborn, Clinton Lowe, Wilhelm Lewis, James Hunter, Lonnie Gaetano, Jeff Mantel, Serena Joan Springle, Ron Piretti, Nino Del Buono, Arthur Mercante, Panama Redd, Robert Wiggins, Fab 5 Freddy, Jonah Denizard, Steve McAuliff, Jonathan Aldridge, Mauricio Alexander, Ephraim Benton, Myo Campbell, Ismael Peter Casillas III, Daniel R Cooper, J.W. Cortes, Ernest Dancy, Cris D'Annunzio, Michael Den Dekker, Sharlene Falls, Wanda Ferreiras, Anthony L. Gurino, Hristo Hristov, Atif Lanier, Shawn Luckey, Racheline Maltese, Jerrod Paige, Michelle Joan Papillion, Tasha Perri, Kevin Pinassi, Bartolo Raffaele, Paula Rittie, Germir Robinson, Philippe Vonlanthen, Julian Walker, Adrian Washington, Craig Weintraub, Clarence Williams III, Nick Poltoranin, Vincent James Russo, Jermel Howard, Marielys Molina, Carlos Sierra Lopez, Latonya Tolbert, Cicily Daniels, Johnathan Hallgrey, Daniel Nugent, Nefertiti Robinson, Aija Terauda, Shannon MacMillan, Autavia Bailey, Artie Pasquale, Brevard Hudson, Nick Mastromarco, Karl Thwaites, Kevin Van Doorslaer, Tina Lorraine, Karen Adisson, Candyce Barnes, Andrea Edmead, Ortos J. Gutierrez, Luam Keflezgy, Flavia Tamara Livolsi, Tamara Marrow, Jonathan Medero, Kesha Nichols, Krista Saab, Yuri Kamino-Fennell, Mark DiConzo, Robert Nicotra, Ric Young, Evelyn Vaccaro, Celestine Rae ...
Genres:
Drama, Crime, Biography ...
Country:
USA

Your rating: 0

Solar rating: 8.6

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Imdb rating: 7.8

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Ridley Scott is too concerned with simultaneously capturing a certain feel for the era he's setting his film in, and for the genre he's borrowing from and homaging too, that the film never really comes together or flows as whole, but instead, feels like a series of vignettes whose sole purpose is to cover the most crucial plot points. Indeed, it's why his characters (especially Denzel's Frank Lucas) feel more like cardboard cut-outs than living, breathing humans. Scott uses several opportunities to just focus the camera in on Washington's face and let the actor dramatically profuse some high-bravado gangster wise-talk (the whole "This is my home, my country" speech, among others). Beyond what the character of Frank Lucas stands for, Scott is not interested in further exploring. It's like the script was being filmed, but all the substance was left in the editing room.

What moral ambiguity between the two leading characters is established is just thrown away through fortune-cookie philosophy and easy conclusiveness. Scott initially downplays their similarities and heightens their differences, only two do a little switcharoo in the film's climax where we figure out that the two aren't so different after all. As for the rest of the film, it's pedestrian, conventional, derivative, and rather unengaging. Cinematography aiming for a sense of realism only goes a long way, and here, the dark lighting and grittiness just make things hard to see and unpleasant to look at. Naturally, both Denzel and Crowe are good, but only to the extent of their character's developments (or lack thereof). It isn't the absolute worst way to pass 150 minutes, but overall, American Gangster just isn't wholly satisfying.
American Gangster is the movie We Own the Night wanted to be. It has a similar premise involving both sides of the law in regard to drug dealings and such. Both feature big stars, violence, and sex. But American Gangster succeeds where We Own the Night failed, and it's not very hard to see why (also, I use antlers in all of my decorating).

For a movie with a beefy running time (about 2 hours, 40 minutes in this case) to be great, it has to have two things, or at least one to an incredible degree:
1. An intriguing plot that manages to excite and be interesting throughout the whole course of the movie-no fizzling out or having lulls with unnecessary scenes.
2. Worthy actors playing good characters, and doing it well.

American Gangster has both in spades. The plot, despite its familiar basis of a cop trying to bust a drug ring, manages to be fresh and exciting, and it's not predictable in the least. Every choice made by Ridley Scott seems completely deliberate, and each scene seems to be included for a reason, whether to move the plot along or to further establish the great characters.

Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe, two of the best actors working today, have really gone the distance with the great material provided for them. I loved seeing Denzel show his darker side (no, that wasn't racist), and Crowe continues to have "a good year" (man, I'm so funny), adding another fantastic performance to go along with 3:10 to Yuma. The supporting cast, comprised mostly of people I didn't recognize, are all fine, too, but it's clear who the stars are.

This movie works. That's all there is to it.

And on a side note: I recommend reading the poem Eloise to Abelardi, which was written by Alexander Pope. It's the poem Eternal Sunshine gets its name from, and though it's a bit hard to understand, it's a beautifully written piece well worth ten minutes or so of your time.
Denzel Washington plays Frank Lucas one of the most notorious gangsters of the 70's. Russell Crowe plays Richie Roberts the cop whose trying to convict Mr. Lucas. The movie starts out a tad bit slow for about 30 minutes but after that the movie is just great from there on out. Everybody in the movie does a great job in big and small performances. Josh Brolin, Cuba Gooding Jr., Chiwetel Ejiofor, Idris Elba, RZA, Common, and even T.I. all do great in there parts some big some small. Ridley Scott knew exactly what he wanted when making this film. It's basically two different stories, one being about Lucas and one being about Roberts, that come together in the end. Overall this is right up there with all the old gangster flicks and I feel its better than some. It might not be The Godfather but it sure is one hell of a movie.

American Gangster

This is an interesting movie. Anytime a movie is longer than 2 hours and I don't get bored you know it's good. Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe are perfect in their roles.
I've seen some reviews about how Scott stole, copied, borrowed, etc, etc from other gangster films. What are these guys talking about? I grew up in Brooklyn, NY and saw organized crime life firsthand, though I admit that perhaps "The Godfather" was the first movie to authentically portray the gritty reality of organized crime, it itself had hints of past gangster films. Why? Because there isn't many levels to this type of life. I mean, what new element can there be? Besides this was a true story!

This was an excellent film. It should be held up as strong as, if not better then, a lot of other gangster films.

I give it :fresh: :fresh: :fresh: :fresh: :fresh: :fresh: :fresh: :fresh:
RATING (0 to ****): **1/2

Save for a brief-but-extremely-nauseating shakycam chase, Ridley Scott's "American Gangster" is never an awful film. With subject matter and actors like Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe, however, it should have been more interesting; as it stands, it's a run-of-the-mill true story which is sometimes as entertaining as reality... as in not. My rule with true stories and biopics is that if I find that reading a short article on the real events is more fascinating than spending 2-and-a-half hours watching a movie about it, then the movie didn't succeed. No performance or segment of "American Gangster" was memorable enough to devote a full review for.


MPAA: R (violence, pervasive drug content and language, nudity and sexuality)
Runtime: 2 hours, 37 minutes (148 minutes of "real movie")
Okay guys and gals. This my first journal post here. I've been on this site for a while and decided to make a name for the forums and reviews and saw the journal option and decided to give it a try. I guess this is my intro entry as i'll tell you about myself. I am a very big film fan as well as television and music. I have a big love for cars as well. But film usually takes the front and I can't get enough of films and film news. I try to get to the movies a lot and this year I have and i'm happy i've seen most the movies I wanted too. Last Night I saw American Gangster. WoW! Denzel and Crowe put amazing performances out and this movie is one of the best of the year and the both of their careers. This movie has a great story and some of the best dialouge in a movie in a long time. I highly recomend everyone to see this movie as it is highly enjoyable to watch and even though you need to know that this is not an action movie the action in it is real good and the story itself is amazing so if anyone was upset with We Own The Night saying that there was no action and the movie was boring this is the way a drama with a some action was supposed to be done. The next movie that is on my list to see is in two and a half weeks with Hitman. Love the game and the movie looks awesome. Well thats all for now i'll be back in a day or two to give my reaction to the NFL weekend, the newest Heroes episode and a review of the newest Cassidy, Jay-Z and Chris Brown albums on tuesday night.
I've seen this film referenced to "classic gangster" films. Nothing could be further from the truth! Classic gangster films had real action not just dramatic effect from a good soundtrack as the characters talk & talk! TOO much talk & not enough of the REAL action I expect from a "classic gangster film"
a powerful film with great performances. One of the years best

Gangster films...man. What is it about this popular genre that is so attractive to the movie going public? Why does human nature allow for us, while in a theater, to simultaneously root for evil and celebrate a life of crime, all while greedily munching on a pale of popcorn? I am not above this...like anyone else, I am a major admirer of The Godfather (I and II), but there is no denying it is a glorication of crime...walk into my living room and see seperate posters of Vito and Michael Corleone adorning walls opposite eachother. Ruthless killers as household decoration...

A handful of these films seem more realistic and give the audience no desire to be a part of "the family." Instead of celebration, it is simply presentation. Goodfellas, for example, depicts the life of organized crime as one of unflinching violence and selfish ambition...There will be blood - as for whose blood, well no one really cares as long as it's not their own. So then, American Gangster...celebration or presentation?

Frank Lucas: See, ya are what ya are in this world. That's either one of two things: Either you're somebody, or you ain't nobody.

American Gangster is Richie Roberts (Russell Crow) vs. Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington), drug lord (and corrupt cops) vs. good cop, black vs. white, family man vs. dead beat dad, and a well run business vs. the law of the land. And most importantly, it is good vs. evil. What makes this such an interesting story is that Roberts and Lucas are both simultaneously good and evil...thus the spiritual battle of human nature rages inside of each (only maybe not to an equal degree). Throughout the movie, there were times that I completely despised both men. But on the contrary, their were times that I wholeheartedly admired both men.

This is the most valuable and important aspect of American Gangster...its depictions (presentation) of the lives of the two main characters seem so real. Neither can be called a protagonist because each contains major flaws that make them hard to root for. As stated before, Richie Roberts is great at what he does. He is one of the only honest cops in his entire precinct, which makes you wonder how he can be such a terrible father and difficult ex-husband. Frank Lucas is a family first kind of guy, but has no qualms about killing in cold blood. And then you add in the corrupt cops, whom the audience certainly despises more than the drug lord himself. The good guy/bad guy lines are blended together in a very effective way.

Outside the actual plot and story, the performances are great all around. As many have already stated, Washington and Crowe are two of Hollywood's most talented actors and each are at the top of his game in this crime drenched thriller. Due largely in part to these performances, American Gangster's two hours and forty minute running time seems much less. It is fast paced ride well worth the price of admission.

It is not your typical gangster film, and for this story, I think that is a good thing. The fact that Ridley Scott chose presentation over celebration makes it what it is. Given the intense anticipation that led American Gangster into opening weekend, it is impressive that it did not disappoint in the least. It is no Goodfellas, but it is certainly deserving of hard-earned respect.