American Gangster (Extended Collectors Edition) (2 discs) DVD
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Directed by Ridley Scott
Produced in 2007
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - American film
Ridley Scott's homage to The French Connection captures the mood and the pace of the best of 70s filmmaking.
At the height of the Vietnam War, a detective wages his own battle against a black Manhattan drug lord who has side-stepped the Mafia and the corrupt police to carve out his own kingdom on the city streets. This provocative take on the politics of black power, where dealing drugs is no less incompatible with the American Dream than being drafted to Vietnam, features strong performances from Denzel Washington and (an admirably understated) Russell Crowe.
Publisher: Universal Pictures
Length: 151 mins
Cat No: 8253510
Format: DVD Colour
- 2 discs. Commentary with Director Ridley Scott and Writer Steven Zaillian
- Featurettes, Deleted scenes and Making of. Also contains the shorter theatrical cut.
by Anon on 4th February 2008
American Gangster, the third collaboration between Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe, is undoubtedly conceived to muscle into the select group of classic US gangster thri... Read on
American Gangster, the third collaboration between Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe, is undoubtedly conceived to muscle into the select group of classic US gangster thrillers such as The Godfather (1972) or Goodfellas (1990), films to which every mob-related picture is hastily compared.
Following a similar eclectic trajectory as the recent Scorsese-Di Caprio collaborations, the films of Scott-Crowe have varied widely in setting and style. However, perhaps more than Scorsese-Di Caprio, given the period setting of this most recent work, we cannot fail to be reminded of the great collaborations of the 1970s of Lumet-Pacino or Scorsese-De Niro.
Based on ‘The Return of Superfly’, an article by Mark Jacobson from 2000, American Gangster tells the violent true-life story of Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington), a brutal Harlem drug baron and his tussle with New York cop Richie Roberts (Crowe). From the pre-credits sequence – in which Washington’s Lucas coolly sets fire to a petrol-sodden associate – it is clear that Scott’s film is certainly not overawed by the many slices of blood-soaked filmic gangsterdom that have preceded it.
The film’s frenetic pace comes closest perhaps to that of Goodfellas and there is also an unmistakebly Scorsesian use of voice-over but the film’s formal palette is less obviously Scorsese than De Palma (in particular 1993’s Carlito’s Way). Albert and Allen Hughes’ Dead Presidents (1995), with its dark greys and muted browns would also have undoubtedly been an influence on cinematographer Harris Savides whose other excellent recent work includes David Fincher’s 1970s-set Zodiac (2007) and James Gray’s criminally underrated thriller The Yards (2000).
The similarity between Crowe’s doggedly honest Roberts and Pacino’s Frank Serpico has been noted by several critics but I would say that it is Josh Brolin’s corrupt detective Trupo that more closely recalls another key Lumetian character, that of Nick Nolte’s corrupt cop Michael Brennan, in Q&A (1990).
Steeped in the long tradition of the urban US crime drama, Scott’s epic – its ambition sprouting from every pore – will undoubtedly secure a place alongside its illustrious predecessors.