American Gangster – Review


American Gangster is a Ridley Scott movie with high aspirations and somewhat epic intentions. It doesn’t quite live up to its epic intentions but at the end you’re happy to let it go due to the gripping nature of the film and all its good points. We follow the story of Frank Lucus a  gangster whose mentor and drug boss suddenly dies leaving his business open for the taking. This now places Frank at the top of his pack using his brains and contacts to outsmart the flashier and louder competition. On a parallel story line we follow Ritchie Robbins the good doing drug officer who doesn’t play the corrupt cop game like so many. With his eye set on doing a good job while his personal life falls apart, Richie assembles a new team to help him crack his new case. As the story unfolds these two different men and lives are heading for a meeting.

The direction is sharp and the sets and locations are as perfect as you could ask for, with a great sense of realism helped along by the script which is excellent. Both the lead performances by Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington are excellent with them both offering subtle performances.

At Nearly 3 hours long American Gangster is long movie but it never feels boring or slow, testament to the fact of how solid it is. It’s nothing particularly new or groundbreaking but with great looks, good performances and a script and pacing which make the long running time fly by, American Gangster is high quality entertainment, at the upper end of its genre.