Film of the Day #53/ 300
A gritty thriller made for today, re-creating the past to find lessons for the present. Long but never boring, American Gangster it's an expertly crafted slice of mainstream entertainment telling two concurrent stories. Directed by Ridley Scott, American Gangster is an enjoyable double character study that intricately weaves the accounts of drug trafficking and police corruption in Harlem in the early 1970’s. Sharp, observant and true to the period with impeccable production design and two powerhouse performances from both Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe, American Gangster is one of the most intelligent gangster movies in years. Washington may not have wanted to glorify the Harlem drug dealer, but with his superb acting skills he has created one of the coolest gangsters since Tony Montana. Ridley Scott packs the film with period detail and vivid, violent energy reminiscent of high-grade Scorsese, then mixes in a Lumet-like, keenly observed outrage at systemic corruption. Scott’s not interested in fireworks but small implosions of the soul and ego. American Gangster is a film that deserves attention, if not your full respect.