Thursday, November 8, 2007

Reunited, and It Feels So Good

American Gangster

Release: 11/02/2007
2 hours, 37 minutes


Long before most Americans were aware of his brilliant acting abilities, Russell Crowe starred alongside Denzel Washington in the little-remembered movie “Virtuosity.” Crowe played a serial killer and Denzel was the cop hot on his trail. After a dozen years and countless awards for both of them, Washington and Crowe reunite with roles reversed in “American Gangster.” Crowe portrays Richie Roberts, an honest cop amid a sea of dirty cops hired to head up a narcotics task force to make arrests of major drug lords. Washington plays one of those drug lords, Frank Lucas. The story follows the two men’s rise through their respective endeavors.

Reunions abound behind camera as helmer Ridley Scott and writer Steve Zaillian collabo for the first time since “Hannibal.” This creative duo have crafted a film that will have audiences’ rapt attention for the entire two and a half hour runtime. Washington and Crowe’s performances create an unshakable foundation in the telling of an otherwise formulaic narrative of drug lord versus the narc. Keep in mind that a true story like that of Frank Lucas is where all those clich├ęd ‘80’s and ‘90’s drug war flicks got their basis.

In addition to the megastars, the film features a slew of accomplished supporting actors. Chiwetel Ejiofor (Inside Man), Ted Levine (Silence of the Lambs), Carla Gugino (Sin City), Josh Brolin (Grindhouse) and Ruby Dee (Do the Right Thing), to name more than a few, give performances as memorable as those of the big dogs. If all that doesn’t do it for you, it has one of the grooving-est soundtracks of the year and even features a live performance by Anthony Hamilton.

Dirty Undies

One thing you’ve gotta love about those drug-war flicks is the obligatory drug cutting and packaging rooms full of gratuitous, half-naked and buck-ass naked women. “Gangster” doesn’t disappoint, providing an in depth look into Frank’s operation, though the movie is nearly devoid of sex. Graphic depiction of drug use, gun violence, and sheer brutality could be unnerving for some, but is a legitimate and necessary element to this tale.

The Money Shot
The story of Frank Lucas makes my North Carolina home even more prominent in entertainment news than the recent rise to fame of Jaime “Kinston Represent” Pressly. All joking aside, I could continue gushing about the music, acting, and enormous sense of gratification I felt after seeing this film, but I’d just be wasting valuable minutes you could be using to get to the theater to find out for yourself.

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  1. If American Gangster is half as good as Virtuosity then I must see it.

  2. I've pretty psyched to see this one.

    Good review.

  3. I am sorry that I didn't reply earlier...evidently my notifier was on early vacation. That said..

    Matt: I remember loving Virtuosity. I want to see it again to see how it's held up.

    Tony: I hope you got to see this film, its one not to miss. Thanks for the kudos, I hope I can continue to please.