Thursday, January 10, 2008

Review: American Gangster

American Gangster (M18), US, 157 minutes, Director: Ridley Scott, Cast: Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Josh Brolin
American Gangster, despite its title, isn't just a story about the criminal Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington), who fueled the heroin boom in the 70s. It is also about the honest cop Richie Roberts, played by Russell Crowe, who is finding the source behind the drug boom. In a twisted version of the American dream, Lucas finds a way to get his drugs direct from the source, bringing it into the US and selling it cheaper and at better quality than his competitors. By maintaining a low profile, he manages to keep abreast of Roberts, who has his work cut out for him tracking down the mastermind. It all comes together in this engrossing character study/crime thriller that has Scott playing the two leads against each other. Lucas is portrayed as an entrepreneurial businessman, willing to do anything for his trade, while Roberts is a cop whose honesty is actually a crutch. Scott's adept pacing helps the movie move along for its 2 and a half hours length, though the ending appears to muffle Lucas' malevolent influence and ends on a note of admiration for what he accomplished. Rating: A-

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