American Gangster (2007) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: Following the death of his employer and mentor, Bumpy Johnson, Frank Lucas establishes himself as the number one importer of heroin in the Harlem district of Manhattan. He does so by buying heroin directly from the source in South East Asia and he comes up with a unique way of importing the drugs into the United States. As a result, his product is superior to what is currently available on the street and his prices are lower. His alliance with the New York Mafia ensures his position. It is also the story of a dedicated and honest policeman, Richie Roberts, who heads up a joint narcotics task force with the Federal government. Based on a true story. Runtime: 157 mins Release Date: 01 Nov 2007
Starting off, this probably shouldn't be grouped in as a mob film. For one, Crowe's character is as much the lead as Denzel, this is a cops catching the criminal movie. But also, there's not much mob, it's Frank Lucas at the top and everyone else trying to attach to him, he's one man and that is made very clear.American Gangster works on numerous levels. It's in part a portrait of late 60s-early 70s Harlem and America, full of drugs and desperation and weakness, where the strong rise above the rest and the cops are dirtier than the rats. As a crime thriller it's <more>
entertaining and at 2 hours 37 minutes, never loses interest. But, maybe most surprisingly, it's also a superb character drama and study. Literally every character who steps on screen is compelling, has depth to them, has their motivations, and is tossed into conflict. For example there's a scene early on where Crowe's character Richie and his partner are searching a parked car and find a very large amount of unmarked money in the trunk. Without giving away more, it and the following scenes lead to some surprising moral and character statements by Scott. Richie's morals vs everyone else the temptation of the streets is commonly laid on him throughout the film, and thanks to Crowe's great great performance, it adds a lot to the movie.Denzel is brilliant here. Frank Lucas, with his collected yet fiery, always powerfully menacing performance is one of the better king bosses I can think of in recent memory. When he's not talking, just the way his face is set, he totally totally gets in this character. The academy would do right to easily give him a nomination this year. I also wanted to add that while the two leads don't get on screen till the last 20 minutes, they have a long extended scene that is pure dynamite and gold. They play off each other perfectly and it's well worth the build-up, and maybe are among the highlights of each performance.Going through supporting actors, Josh Brolin gives one of the year's most surprising performances as an insufferable and despicable dirty cop. He's so slimy, money-grubbing, and yet intelligent and an equal, he's just cunning. Cuba Gooding, Jr. is decent in his one scene, though it's hampered by being mostly unneeded. Chiwetal Ejifor makes a believable side character though he's not given as much to do, and finally I think Ruby Dee could be a sleeper Best Supporting Actress contender for her role as Mama Lucas. Every other short and thankless role I didn't mention is acted superbly here as well, it's a sign of a great director that they're all so on their game.Ridley Scott's direction, brilliant, what can you say. He creates New York and the rats living in it to the point with fantastic attention to detail, and most of the scenes in the film are shot and constructed simply perfectly. This includes the short but brutally effective opening scene, which stands as one of the more memorable openings I've seen in a while. Actually any time there's gunplay or action, even if there isn't that much overall, it's stunning. Particularly, at the end there's a police raid scene that stands as the "holyyyy crap" sequence of the film. Going from a hallway to a heroine preparing apartment, and without revealing anything more, it's incredible, simply incredible. Remember when people were going nuts over the tracking shot gimmick in Children of Men? I felt that way about this one. If there's a god, Ridley will finally pick up his directing Oscar this year, he deserves it for this and his wide career.American Gangster is probably one of the best cop-based films I've seen, and up there with gangster ones. It does one of the best jobs of examining the rise and fall of a crime or drug boss right from the beginning, and dives right into on the other side what it means to be a cop and to strive for something, as well as just telling an awesome and magnificently directed gangster story.One of the year's very finest films.
Finally a good, accurate, gangster drug-trafficking film that makes you think. It's far from Polyanna and lets no-one group off; not gangsters of any race or ethnicity, not cops on the take, addicts, etc. And importantly, the story, based upon the true life story of Frank Lucas, does not profile a stereotypical black gangster gone wrong but instead shows an elegant, intellectual man who rises to the top of his game but then learns something new in the end. The film is a sure-shot into the Oscars but more importantly, for me, it's a film that is socially responsible and imparts a <more>
thoughtful message for any viewer,especially in light of current times.Technically, it's got it all going on. Script,Camera, lighting,and not only par excellence from Crowe and Washington but the entire acting cast. The film uses fabulous close-ups and unbelievably good action shots. I disagree with any reviews that claim the movie is not packed with enough action or violence. How tiresome that would be! Instead, while including some of the best action/violent shots ever filmed, Mr. Ridley gives us a relevant and real-life look into the narcotics business top-to-bottom and across the board. I would far prefer to see a movie that has a dozen or so magnificently staged violent shots that dare to go deeper and translate both internal as well as external motivations as to depict real life. The film is not only entertaining; its portrayal is authentic to the real life grizzly and sometimes grayed world of crime/justice as well as didactic and amazingly...uplifting. What a nice surprise.
Saw a screening of this a week ago, and what a great movie that was, Denzel was excellent as usual, so does Russel, and even if Cuba had a rather small part in it, he was also pretty good, so when we got out of the screening me & my friends we were asking ourselves was that good enough to be an epic movie 10,20 years from now? And we both agreed to the conclusion of yes, this very well could be, top notch acting with great directing, where this all gonna lead to? It feels like epic proportion that's for sure.10 stars.It's best "gangster" movie I've seen during the <more>
years 2000 by far, anything that comes close to that is probably some of Martin Scorsese work during the 1990's.
Ridley Scott's new flick American Gangster was a good one. Though Im not gonna be saying it's the best film of the year or anything like that. It was directed well, barely any dull scenes, great acting by an enormous cast and was really well-written. Unfortunately the story never seemed "new" to me. I was reminded of other drug-related/crime movies, like BLOW, CITY OF GOD, and evening TRAINING DAY....."My Man". Though it's in the leagues as being entertaining as the above mentioned movies, it really just never felt like I was watching a "new" story. <more>
But speaking of story, I never knew anything about Frank Lucas, and his story is fantastic. A black man who was more influential than his Mafian brethren? Tell me you're kidding. Nope, he was a force in Harlem back in the late 60s and early 70s and barely anyone knows about it. But for me this area of the film was the only stand out part. Sure there are other good scenes, done well, but nothing worth mentioning. Well, scratch that, naked women workin in a drug lab was an eye-opening scene.Denzel Washington won the Oscar when he portrayed the crooked cop in Training Day who said "My Man" all the time. Well, in the American Gangster you got him saying this line again, and by God does he have it down. There are scenes when you know he's gonna say it, and he still pulls it off incredibly well. Denzel is one actor you really never have to worry about it in the acting department. You've got Russell "Mr. Oscar" Crowe playing the other lead, and like always, he always has the character down. He was great in this flick, the accent, the mannerisms, all of it. Though, his character's story was interesting in that he was in charge of the case to figure out who the big boy druglords were, his side story with his wife was for me the "dull" parts of the film. They were well-acted and all that, but mostly, it was just character development that isn't needed. Russell Crowe's good enough an actor to portray a struggling cop without a family problem. And also let me say Josh Brolin as the crooked cop was great. I didn't need a side-story of him doing tons of drugs and banging prostitutes....but ya know he was doing it.American Gangster was a really good flick. It had amazing acting mixed with scenes that shed a new light on drug-trafficking....or should I say Old light. Though since there are so many other drug/crime cop films out there it seems a little been there done that. But don't let that sway you if you enjoy good movies and or crime films. And also, Frank Lucas is one hell of an interesting personality. My man. 8.5 outta 10
Watch American Gangster without preconceived ideas. While the film is long it never drags. You don't get the sense that you've seen this movie before. It's not Serpico. It's not The Wire. It's not The Sopranos. While much is going on, the story is easy to follow. There is action, but this isn't an "action movie".Both Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe act convincingly and give depth to their characters.The film leaves you wanting to know more about about happened to the lead characters. You care about them that much. Now *that's* film making.
Keeps The Viewer Involved And Interested....Well Done. (by AudioFileZ)
The story about Frank Lucas is one that proves fact is more interesting than fiction. The fact that such a character really did exist yet I do not remember it certainly intrigues me. I guess I was just too young at the time it broke. Now approaching my later forties finds me longing to research it further after seeing this movie.I get the feeling Ridley Scott was amazed a person such as Frank Lucas was actually able to do what he did and live to tell about it. I certainly share that amazement. The care in which he tells the story serves it well. Though it's basically a gangster movie <more>
it's not particularly graphic in violence except in a few scenes. Even Denzel's and Russel's portrayals of the two central characters are not quite as dark as the usual more stereotypical gangster/cop persona...Still there is a sense of doom and danger ever present as the viewer knows neither law enforcement, government, or mafia will let this man's drug empire go on.To sum it up I believe this is an excellent telling of a true crime story. It's intriguing, entertaining, and certainly serves as a cautionary reminder to remain vigilant in combating drugs.
Detractors of this film were fooled by the trailer. (by andrewfreeley87)
American Gangster has been really hated upon in many of the former posts I have read. Yet it seems like they are all saying the same thing, that Gangster didn't have enough action and was really drawn out. Anyone who has every seen a Ridley Scott film will know that his films are long! Blade Runner, A Good Year, Matchstick Men, Hannibal, Black Hawk Down, Gladiator, G.I. Jane, Thelma and Louis, and Alien all ran for at least two hours or more, so big surprise there guys. In addition Scott didn't set out to film another scarface, he set out to tell a story not just about Frank Lucas but <more>
rather a tale of corruption and how pervasive it is. One user commented that this film had many side story lines that "bloated" the story. This is completely untrue as every "side story" is actually the overarching story about the fight against corruption in every facet of life, even Frank Lucas attempts several times to eradicate the corruption in his organization.Over all this is a great film which really gets into every nook and cranny of an issue. Don't see this film if your just looking for cheap thrills, this is a thinking film about the pervasive dishonesty of our culture.I gave this film 8 stars because i could find nothing solid that detracted from it, but rather a slew of minor details which gradually brought its score down. But I will put this film in my top films for the year, if only because I have been immensely unsatisfied with the bulk of releases this year.
Now i've heard some mixed reactions to this movie, and I must say I don't think that. American Gangster is a perfect gangster film. A rise and fall film, but it is done better than both Empire and Carlito's Way put together. Where Empire fails, American Gangster prevails where historical accuracy is needed as well as a good background story. It's violent and sometimes shocking, but being an avid gangster/crime fan i know that compared to others this is almost nothing.A brilliant biopic of New York gangster Frank Lucasm the film also utilises Lucas's relationship with the <more>
Italian Mafia perfectly, giving you almost a two way view of the city's underworld. Denzel Washington excels at the part as Lucas, and Russell Crowe as the cop out to get him is almost blinding. Crowe does a great American accent, as well as portraying a cop out to just do his job but can't properly. It's a a film about Lucas's rise to fame in New York's Heroin business, and his fall due to both Crowe and police persistence.Like with most gangster films, you are always put off by either the acting or the story. But here this is not the case, you have a true story that does not mask Lucas's violent life but rather portrays it as a life of both murder and violence. It does not glamorise his life in any way, it's a film that says criminals never get away with what they've done. Both Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe are perfect in the criminal and cop relationship.I would say now do not listen to the negative reviews of this film, they do no justice for the film. I'd recommend this film to fans of crime flicks and those who just want a riveting film to watch.
American Gangster is one of the best movies i've recently seen and it is a pleasure to watch even if you are not a gangster movies fan. The story is more captivating than i expected i must say, following Frank Lucas Denzel Washington - the afro-American drug lord who raised above all, even the Italian mafia - and Richie Roberts Russel Crowe , the honest cop in a city full of corruption, sort of Frank Serpico but with less guts. Denzel Washington delivers a marvelous performance of a man calm and patient yet heart-stopping ferocious at some points, fearless and ambitious but likable as <more>
always. His performances are always incredible, he's a great actor, the greatest afro-American actor of all time i dare to say, it's simply a pleasure to watch him in any role.Russel Crowe delivers a good performance, he's one of the actors that never disappoint in my opinion and i think there's a great chemistry between them Washington and Crowe even though few scenes bring them face to face. Richie Roberts is in danger for being one of the few cops that actually do their jobs and refuse to take bribe so i think there's a big resemblance between Richie Roberts and Frank Serpico Al Pacino 1973 .Cuba Gooding Jr. could have gotten a bigger part, or more scenes because he's a very talented actor and he proved himself many times that he's more than capable of delivering excellent performances. The drama is less than expected but the movie is very well paced and it never gets boring even if it lasts more than two hours. Everything fits perfectly and there is an excellent antithetical presentation of the wealthy life of Frank Lucas opposite to the lives that he's drugs ruin every day, every hour, every minute... I strongly recommend to gangster movies fans, actually to those viewers who enjoy good movies because this movie is above average and you will enjoy every second of it.