American Gangster

American Gangster

Close but no cigar - Cascarino

8 Points

Viewer Rating:Cascarino has rated American Gangster rating: 3 Star

One of the major influencing factors in a viewer's opinion of a film is the expectation that he had before seeing it. I was expecting big things of "American Gangster" and so what ensued was being scrutinised very closely to see if it lived up to the standards I had set. Both Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe are very impressive in this, and Ridley Scott directs with the usual assurance and style that you expect. So I can't put my finger on why exactly it didn't set my world on fire... Crowe plays an honest cop in the NYPD narcotics department, one of very few not to take pay-offs from the rampant mafia drug lords who control the thriving trade in the late 1960s. Given his clean record, he is assigned to head up a special task force to chase down and nail the main players in the city, and his investigations soon lead him on the trail of Frank Lucas, played by Washington. Lucas breaks the mould as an enterprising Black business man who goes directly to the source and imports his drugs from Vietnam, with the help of his cousin in the US army. Undercutting the local mafia suppliers, he quickly takes control of the market and refuses any collaboration with his competitors or the crooked police, going it alone despite all of the risk involved. Like any crime boss, he is prepared to be ruthless and violent when need dictates, but cleverly portrays a clean image in social circles. When Crowe eventually closes in on his elusive target, the viewer is expecting a very climactic crescendo, but for me the final half hour is slightly devoid of really thrilling action. I enjoyed this film unequivocally but was probably expecting more than I got, a good movie but not a classic.

Review published on the 23 July 2008 12:25

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