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A bit of a let down.
American Gangster (DVD)
Member Name: charlie1979
American Gangster (DVD)
Advantages: Good plot and great acting
Disadvantages: Too drawn out
I took a bit of a gamble adding this to my rental list as it is not the type of film I would usually watch. I read a couple of reviews before I rented it and it had fairly good write ups so I thought I would give it a go!
This film is directed by one of the better known directors Ridley Scott and was released in 2007. Even I have heard of this director which is saying something for me!
This film follows the gangster Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) who decides to take control of the district of Harlem when his 'gang' leader dies. Frank want to take control of the heroin distribution in the city and travel to Bankok in Thailand to source the drug himself and cut out the middle men. He manages to source pure heroine and smuggles it back into America using military service planes with inside help.
This pure heroin is sold on the streets under the brand name 'Blue Magic'. The streets of New York hadn't quite had anything like this before and soon it took over like the plague with it being used everywhere. The fact that Frank sourced the heroin direct form the suppliers meant that he could keep the cost down making this pure heroin cheaper than the other cut heroin on the streets.
The money soon starts rolling in and Frank lives like a king. He marries a beautiful lady and they both live a life of luxury. Frank even buys his beloved mother a huge mansion to lie in.
On the other side of the coin we have detective Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe). He is one of the few honest cops but the force is full of corrupt officers. Richie's honesty means that he is not liked that well within the police force. Richie is a real womaniser and has a failed marriage behind him and battles to get custody of his son.
The real turning point in the film is when Richie's cop partner dies from an overdose of Blue Magic. Richie is put in charge of a task force to get to the bottom of who is supplying this Blue Magic that is taking over the streets. Will he find out who the gangster is at the source of all this?
At the start of this film I was really concerned that I wasn't going to enjoy it. The accents put on by the gangsters were like something out of the Godfather films and I had a job to understand what they were saying. The film is very slow to get going and even after half an hour I couldn't really get into it which is rare for me.
Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe both deliver great performances but I can't help feeling they were let down by the weakness of the plot. The start of the film seems to try and cram many years into a short period of time but once the day to day action starts the film is much easier to watch and follow.
When I watch a film I like to get inside the characters heads and really understand what makes them tick. Unfortunately you don't get that in this film which I found quite frustrating particularly with the character of Frank. Some emotion came through in the characters at the end of the film but for me this was a little bit too late.
This is quite a long film at just over two and a half hours long. I can't help feeling that an hour and a half would have been plenty to fit the plot in!
Overall I would say that this film is worth watching but don't expect anything great or comparable to the Godfather films!
Summary: An average film that could have been great.