American Gangster Reviews

  • Jun 19, 2021

    Interesting and well acted, American Gangster is a compelling movie showing a gangster's rise and eventual fall. However, it seems to play out it a familiar gangster movie format.

    Interesting and well acted, American Gangster is a compelling movie showing a gangster's rise and eventual fall. However, it seems to play out it a familiar gangster movie format.

  • May 27, 2021

    Another stupid movie that glorifies gangsters and criminals. No wonder America has the top crime rate in the world!

    Another stupid movie that glorifies gangsters and criminals. No wonder America has the top crime rate in the world!

  • May 19, 2021

    This one is going to be in my top gangster movies list for sure. Being a true story makes it only better but it wasn't great. I would like to see more brutality and violence.

    This one is going to be in my top gangster movies list for sure. Being a true story makes it only better but it wasn't great. I would like to see more brutality and violence.

  • May 11, 2021

    One of the greatest mob movies with excellent performances by Washington and Crowe

    One of the greatest mob movies with excellent performances by Washington and Crowe

  • Feb 02, 2021

    American Gangster, a cop and crime thriller, takes place from the late 60s to the early 70s. Evoking the cop thrillers at the time which had cornered cinema, like Sidney Lumet's Serpico or William Friedkin's Oscar-winning The French Connection. Those films detail the undercurrent themes between the side of the law and the side of the criminal underworld. How reactionary either side can be when obtaining their ultimate goals of beating each other. The story of American Gangster takes place in Harlem where gangster Bumpy Johnson, passes away; Leaving his protege, Frank Lucas, played by Denzel Washington to take control of Harlem once again. Attempting to make a name for himself, he successfully sets up a system where he imports pure uncut heroin, from top producers in Vietnam, through secret military contacts. Lucas soon becomes the celebrity and crime kingpin of Harlem City. Meanwhile, maverick cop Richie Roberts played by Russell Crowe is facing a divorce and a potential separation from his child. To make things worse, trust becomes an issue for his partners and superiors for booking in unmarked cash that was found in the boot of a car. Dealing with the loss of his corrupt partner, Roberts is assigned to lead up a drug case that potentially leads back to Frank Lucas himself. What develops is a cat and mouse game of Roberts and crew taking down the charismatic but dangerous Frank Lucas, while also uncovering a field of corruption and power that could potentially endanger them and their careers in the process. This is probably Ridley Scott's most entertaining films to watch: from the casting; to the locations; to the thrills; to the pacing and the brilliantly written structure of both characters on either side of the fence. Denzel Washington is well cast here. Ranging from suave, smug and threatening in all the same features, which brilliantly contrasts with Crowe who is frustrating and even tough to deal with as a character. We know that Frank has effectively built his empire and took care of his family. So, while famous, he has to fight to keep himself at the top while Roberts has to fight to earn respect and become the decorated cop he wants to be by taking him down. As it is, it makes for an exciting narrative, made effective through the script of Steven Zaillian. The film is shot in the style of those movies as mentioned earlier. Drab and dark lighting with an old-fashioned aesthetic that makes the film raw and gives the film an edge to be aligned with those classic cop thrillers. The film is roughly two and a half hours long, but it does move at such a brisk pace. Which makes use of every minute on screen. While Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe don't share as much screen time together, there is plenty of stand out performances in the background that are memorable. Such as, Idris Elba's gangster rival character and Josh Brolin's shady detective character that significantly make up the reigns of the plot. The film is nothing less than thrilling and tense. There are high stakes to be had here. While the film follows a predictable path, there's a great sense of the period in time, that you become invested almost immediately. On top of that, with a cast that is committed to the storylines on-screen. Uniquely, Washington and Crowe who do battle with each without any confrontation whatsoever, this makes for a very engaging; smooth; stylish and rough around the edges thriller. That effectively creates a stark portrayal of the rise and fall of power and corruption on screen. Miles ahead of what Ridley Scott has made around that period, this is a compelling thriller in the best sense of the word.

    American Gangster, a cop and crime thriller, takes place from the late 60s to the early 70s. Evoking the cop thrillers at the time which had cornered cinema, like Sidney Lumet's Serpico or William Friedkin's Oscar-winning The French Connection. Those films detail the undercurrent themes between the side of the law and the side of the criminal underworld. How reactionary either side can be when obtaining their ultimate goals of beating each other. The story of American Gangster takes place in Harlem where gangster Bumpy Johnson, passes away; Leaving his protege, Frank Lucas, played by Denzel Washington to take control of Harlem once again. Attempting to make a name for himself, he successfully sets up a system where he imports pure uncut heroin, from top producers in Vietnam, through secret military contacts. Lucas soon becomes the celebrity and crime kingpin of Harlem City. Meanwhile, maverick cop Richie Roberts played by Russell Crowe is facing a divorce and a potential separation from his child. To make things worse, trust becomes an issue for his partners and superiors for booking in unmarked cash that was found in the boot of a car. Dealing with the loss of his corrupt partner, Roberts is assigned to lead up a drug case that potentially leads back to Frank Lucas himself. What develops is a cat and mouse game of Roberts and crew taking down the charismatic but dangerous Frank Lucas, while also uncovering a field of corruption and power that could potentially endanger them and their careers in the process. This is probably Ridley Scott's most entertaining films to watch: from the casting; to the locations; to the thrills; to the pacing and the brilliantly written structure of both characters on either side of the fence. Denzel Washington is well cast here. Ranging from suave, smug and threatening in all the same features, which brilliantly contrasts with Crowe who is frustrating and even tough to deal with as a character. We know that Frank has effectively built his empire and took care of his family. So, while famous, he has to fight to keep himself at the top while Roberts has to fight to earn respect and become the decorated cop he wants to be by taking him down. As it is, it makes for an exciting narrative, made effective through the script of Steven Zaillian. The film is shot in the style of those movies as mentioned earlier. Drab and dark lighting with an old-fashioned aesthetic that makes the film raw and gives the film an edge to be aligned with those classic cop thrillers. The film is roughly two and a half hours long, but it does move at such a brisk pace. Which makes use of every minute on screen. While Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe don't share as much screen time together, there is plenty of stand out performances in the background that are memorable. Such as, Idris Elba's gangster rival character and Josh Brolin's shady detective character that significantly make up the reigns of the plot. The film is nothing less than thrilling and tense. There are high stakes to be had here. While the film follows a predictable path, there's a great sense of the period in time, that you become invested almost immediately. On top of that, with a cast that is committed to the storylines on-screen. Uniquely, Washington and Crowe who do battle with each without any confrontation whatsoever, this makes for a very engaging; smooth; stylish and rough around the edges thriller. That effectively creates a stark portrayal of the rise and fall of power and corruption on screen. Miles ahead of what Ridley Scott has made around that period, this is a compelling thriller in the best sense of the word.

  • Jan 17, 2021

    American Gangster is a colourful, well acted addition to the crime genre. It's a lot of fun and has many memorable moments throughout it's runtime. It's also a true story, which is fun.

    American Gangster is a colourful, well acted addition to the crime genre. It's a lot of fun and has many memorable moments throughout it's runtime. It's also a true story, which is fun.

  • Dec 29, 2020

    Good but not great. I have seen many better films about gangsters, but also many worse.

    Good but not great. I have seen many better films about gangsters, but also many worse.

  • Dec 19, 2020

    Denzel Washington plays Frank Lucas a real life drug lord who's innovative way of making sure New York was inundated with high quality drugs Russell Crowe plays a detective who isn't popular with cops, who is put in charge of a narcotics squad intent on stopping Lucas. Pretty great epic of a true crime story. Both leads are excellent as expected, and the story is engaging and well told. Clocking in at nearly three hours, it doesn't feel that long which is always a good sign.

    Denzel Washington plays Frank Lucas a real life drug lord who's innovative way of making sure New York was inundated with high quality drugs Russell Crowe plays a detective who isn't popular with cops, who is put in charge of a narcotics squad intent on stopping Lucas. Pretty great epic of a true crime story. Both leads are excellent as expected, and the story is engaging and well told. Clocking in at nearly three hours, it doesn't feel that long which is always a good sign.

  • Sep 03, 2018

    Great cast in yet another film that suffers from a case of poor editing and copied ideas.

    Great cast in yet another film that suffers from a case of poor editing and copied ideas.

  • Jul 14, 2018

    Pretty good gangster mob movie starring denzel Washington.

    Pretty good gangster mob movie starring denzel Washington.