American Gangster (2007)
Critic Consensus: American Gangster is a gritty and entertaining throwback to classic gangster films, with its lead performers firing on all cylinders.
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Critic Reviews for American Gangster
Scott's not interested in fireworks but small implosions of the soul and ego.
Like much of his oeuvre, Scott's scaled-up movie is bigger than life - and lesser for it. But while never digging deeply or darkly enough to match its own grand vision of itself, slick technique drives the story forward with pace and style.
How much truth we get in the movie version is hard to say...nobody much cares if it's gospel, as long as it's riveting. Here, alas, it is not.
For all its grit, style and atmosphere, Gangster never sweeps you away. It has neither the lurid bravado of De Palma's "Scarface" nor the intimate grasp of the criminal lifestyle you find in Scorsese or Coppola.
Washington's steely grip on his impersonation of Frank Lucas holds the film together.
Audience Reviews for American Gangster
American Gangster tells of the rise of 70s Harlem drug baron Denzel Washington and the efforts of crusading detective Russell Crowe to bring him to justice. Once again Ridley Scott proves he is one of the best directors working today, brilliantly bringing the Harlem of the period to life and essentially telling two tales in tandem in an intelligent and always entertaining way. Denzel is always better in his shadier roles, and this for me has to be one of his best. It does not have the grit and intensity of Scorsese's gangster pieces and the action/violence is sparse. It's more in the vein of something like Infernal affairs or a 70s version of The Wire in its treatment of the story and Scott's pacing is spot on, as the film despite its two and three quarter hour length never drags. The climactic shoot out is brilliantly done, delivered by Scott in a way you know his brother is completely incapable of; his version probably would have been an unwatchably choppy hallucinogenic migraine. It would have been nice to see Crowe and Washington share the screen a little more, but otherwise it delivered on every level. It doesn't challenge the classics, such as The Godfather or Goodfellas, but more than holds its own against other heavyweights such as Donnie Brasco and The Departed.
Ridley Scott develops a masterpiece to be enshrined historically as a magnificent crime/drama classic. American Gangster provides what is to be expected of the obvious title: violence, drugs, and a daring story. The film is also given an extra push by its groundbreaking cast, especially Washington & Crowe. 4/5
American Gangster Quotes
|Dominic Cattano:||Success. It’s got enemies. You can be successful and have enemies or you can be unsuccessful and have friends.|
|Frank Lucas:||There's your 20 percent.|
|Ellsworth "Bumpy" Johnson:||This is the problem. This is what's wrong with America. It's gotten so big, you just can't find your way. The grocery store on the corner is now a supermarket. The candy store is a McDonald's. And this place, a super-fucking discount store. Where's the pride of ownership, huh? Where's the personal service? You see what I mean? Shit. I mean, what right do they have, of cutting out the suppliers, pushing out all the middlemen, buying direct from the manufacturer? Sony this, Toshiba that. All them Chinks putting Americans out of work. That's the way it is now. You can't find the heart of anything to stick the knife.|
|Chinese General:||Quitting when you are ahead is not the same as quitting.|
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