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Thursday, September 20, 2012

American Gangster by Ridley Scott, 2007 (UR)

with Denzel Washington (Unstoppable, Déjà Vu), Russell Crowe (Robin Hood), Cuba Gooding Jr., Ruby Dee, Josh Brolin (True Grit, Milk, Men In Black 3), RZA, John Ortiz, John Hawkes (Winter's Bone), Yul Vazquez, Carla Gugino, Norman Reedus (The Conspirator), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Dirty Pretty Things), Kadee Strickland, Roger Bart, Common, Ted Levine

From director Ridley Scott comes this tense crime thriller starring Denzel Washington as true-life Harlem drug lord Frank Lucas and Russell Crowe as the dogged outcast NYPD cop charged with bringing him down. Ruby Dee (in an Oscar-nominated role), Cuba Gooding Jr., Josh Brolin and Chiwetel Ejiofor lead the supporting cast in this powerhouse tale penned by Steven Zaillian (Schindler's List) and based on actual events.

This movie was incredible in transporting us into the Harlem of the 70's, with its fashionable shops, the sex drug rock n roll, the war America never managed to win, the police that got a lot of self-interest in mind, and the opportunists that came along. Denzel Washington is amazing is the portrayal of this man who had the respect of the social class and ruled the drug trafficking in a smart way, all the way to the top, with something ethical and untouchable. Russell Crowe is perfect in playing the good cop, the one that follows the rules, even to the most stupid extend, just because it is the right thing to do, loosing along the way respect, and not even classy to start with. This couple together is the perfect combination of opposite, till the day they get together and finally crush everyone else. All this looks very contemporary, it is a big production portrayal of a society, and at the same time, the story in a way is very character driven, it has a very human aspect (Frank Lucas' grandmother is unique), you get to love the good ones as much as the bad ones. Very interesting. When I read "The Heart of a Woman" by Maya Angelou, I was reminding myself of the only thing I could, the first footage which I remember in black and white of Harlem, at the beginning of the movie.

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