Ridley Scott's American Gangster offers both belated history-lesson and demented hero-worship, and seems to be intended as a kind of gift to black America. One hopes that black America will have nothing to do with it.
Here's a startlingly original true-life story told in an oddly unoriginal way. And that attempt at instant classic status in the title doesn't quite convince. It's got no more dark grandeur than American Idol.