Beyond Chaos's Movie Review of American Gangster

Rating of

American Gangster

Either you're somebody, or you ain't nobody.
Beyond Chaos - wrote on 06/12/10

Although decent, this movie could've used some tighter editing (Pietro Scalia is usually very dependable - what went wrong?) and a stronger overall story arc. There are some scenes of individual power - almost all of them involving Denzel Washington as the villain. But Russell Crowe's child custody subplot is unnecessary as they could've mentioned it in one scene or even a line and it would've had the same impact.

Plus, it lacks the scope and visceral shock of movies like the first two Godfather films or Goodfellas. There's nothing here you haven't really seen before (unless you're totally unfamiliar with the gangster genre) and no memorable/iconic sequences.

Ridley Scott should probably stick to directing sword & sandal epics or sci-fi thrillers because this doesn't play to his strengths. I'm not unhappy with the final result but I have no desire to see it again. You'd probably be better off renting it when you've got nothing else to do.

STANDOUT: Josh Brolin as the corrupt Special Investigations Unit detective. His performance was appropriately slimy, intimidating and fascinating.

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