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American gangster

[some spoilers]

I can rarely stand a movie that goes beyond the 2h limit. I get fidgety or I fall asleep (that’s why I don’t like epics). But I love Ridley Scott’s work. He didn’t let me down this time either. And how could he? We’re talking about Denzel, for cryin’ out loud!

I love that guy! Ever since The Bone Collector.


He gives a great performance as an American gangster and he makes you love him even though you hate him.

I was less impressed with Crowe. Maybe because his hair looked bad, I don’t know. To me he seemed refrained but maybe I was just not on the required wavelength to really appreciate his acting here. Anyway.


American Gangster 1


The movie is GOOD. The writing, the story, the setting, the acting, everything.

But what captivated me were the characters. Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) to be exact. In fact when the movie started, I thought Frank was actually a good guy and when he went to get that heroin from the Vietnam jungle as I was all “Frankie, WHY would you do that? Heroin is bad”. Then it kind of dawned on me that he might actually BE the big bad wolf of the movie. Then he shot a guy in the head. Which pretty much convinced me he IS the big bad wolf.


But you see, you cannot hate him. Even if he is a drug lord and brings the white powdery destruction to the streets of New York. In the end he’s just a guy who lives the American dream, in his own distorted way. He takes care of his mother with absolute devotion and has a certain air of coolness and sophistication that never leaves him. He uses his skills to go where no African American had gone before in those days, he is THE MAN. That line he always throws in a conversation, “My man!”, is either as a substitute for “nice doing business with you” or ironically instead of “you are stepping on my toes and I might have to shoot you”.


The only ones that you can hate in the movie are the dirty cops which appear more savage and ruthless and deceiving than Frank. They are the wolves in sheep clothing. Even more dangerous than Frank and even if he does occasionally smash people’s heads in a moment of anger.


american gangster 3


A movie where the characters are grayish, not black and white, a movie about “what not to become when you grow up” but definitely a movie worth watching, my man!

Comments (1)

  • I love the way you write–I watched this late one night when i couldn’t sleep and had the same reaction about loving denzel and also knowing he was a really BAD person in the movie. It was a great move to cast him against character type –anyone else might have come off as just too unlikeable. And I cracked up over the russell crowe hair thing.


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