Seen American Gangster? What Did You Think?
by Alex Billington
November 3, 2007
What could be better than a gritty gangster flick starring two of the best actors in the world, Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe, and directed by one of film's legends, Ridley Scott. American Gangster has that wanna-be Oscar winner clout to it, but is it really worthy of Best Picture? Did Ridley Scott direct another masterpiece or another dud? How does American Gangster rank up against the other gangster film greats from history?
Just drop by, leave a comment, and create some discussion! To fuel the fire, I enjoyed American Gangster quite a bit, but I wouldn't call it a masterpiece or a dud by any means. Both Denzel and Russell were amazing and the film had some great moments, it just didn't seem like a perfectly polished work of art. I definitely won't forget it and will probably watch it numerous times later on, establishing it as a definitely great film but nothing that should win an Oscar.
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I too enjoyed it, but it could have been better. I loved the scene where Richie comes to get Frank...just everything about it was perfect. Also, the opening scene was crazy, even if it didn't do anything for the plot, etc. I don't think it is really Oscar worthy though.
Jeff Warner on Nov 3, 2007
I thought it was incredibly mediocre. I had the makings a great movie, great actors, great director, and Frank Lucas is an incredibly interesting character, but I think for some reason the film fell flat. I just felt pretty detached throughout the movie. I think one thing that could have been done would be to have focused just on Frank. Obviously Crowe is a good actor, but I really didn't care that much about his character. I think by trying to focus on both characters spread the movie a bit too thin, so that I didn't end up caring that much what happened to anybody.
Matthew Nevin on Nov 3, 2007
It just didn't live up to the hype. On its own, knowing nothing about American Gangster going in, it's certainly above average to good. But when you know it's Denzel, Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott, you expect it to start at good and work its way toward great. If there were problems, I'd say it's just how clinical everything seemed; the film was almost devoid of emotion or emotional scenes. To prove that point, why else do they include Crowe's scenes with Carla Gugino and the divorce proceedings? They had nothing to do with the story of Frank Lucas and weren't convincing enough on their own dramatically to warrant needing to be in the picture. Of course, baking in those scenes made the film longer, which is never a good thing. The only potential it has for an Oscar is Josh Brolin, but I think they'll push him for No Country for Old Men instead.
Colin Boyd on Nov 3, 2007
On one hand, you've got a great story, fantastic acting by everyone (even Cuba!), superb soundtrack, high production costs.... On the other hand, Ridley Scott totally fibs with the direction. There were some fantastic scenes, like the "tip Jar" scene, one of the final scenes with his Grandma's speech, even the final shootout was exhilarating...but none of those scenes depended on direction to guide them through. The only one that really seemed like it was being handled by a more than competent director was the Thanksgiving montage featuring every character in the film. outside of that, the film was in total auto pilot mode. We know Scott's better than what he made here. He just seemed to take absolutely no chances with this story, just letting the "true to life" tale tell itself, and even at that level, it's still a damn good movie. I don't know how much of it was true, but nonetheless, the story (particularly the ending) was outside the norm for "Gangster" films. I just wish Ridley Scott's direction was too.
Joe H on Nov 3, 2007
I walked out of the movie theater loving this movie, but not exactly knowing why. The end was kind of not my cup of tea (very very similar to the end of Catch Me If You Can), but what can you expect from a story based on real life. Other than that though, the film was near perfect in every way. I love Russel Crowe in anything and Denzel was as incredible as he always is and Josh Brolin ruled, I cant wait to see him in more things (like No Country For Old Men). I was curious why I was so into this movie. There were no really exciting scenes (like Gladiator battles or Aliens popping out of anyones chest), yet it was 2 and a half hours and felt like maybe 90 minutes. Unlike most modern gangster movies, it didnt go right out and tell you what the hell was going on. The masterpiece of the film was its subtlety: Franks Jacket, The Mountain Cottage, even the title was a subtle clue the themes of the movie (or at least what understanding of them are). They say at the beginning of the movie that Americans nowadays just go right to the manufacturer to get their products. If you've seen the film, I think you know what I'm getting at and if you havent, I dont want to ruin it. I've seen American Gangster twice now and I think this is one of the best, if not the best film of the year so far (either this or The Zodiac) and suffice to say I loved it and urge everyone here to see it. Just be ready to do some thinking and be ready for the guy next to you to ask you something like "what the hell is he talking about" or "what is he doing".
Vega Bro on Nov 5, 2007
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