Thursday, July 10, 2008

American Gangster

Now that I have run out of Netflix-sanctioned Blood+ episodes to watch, I am starting to watch movies again. This was the first of them. I wasn't sure what this movie was going to be like, and I was pleased to find that it was a perfectly entertaining execution of a well-traveled plot: the rise of the gangster, Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington), the gangster as top dog, the fall of the gangster. The difference here was the insertion of another plot kind of like that of the Departed. We see the life of a cop, Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe) playing out in parallel and of course at some point the two characters intersect. I thought Denzel Washington played his role rather woodenly for the first half of the movie; he only started to get interesting at the end when he was more animated and his natural charm came through. I wish he had displayed a little more of that animation earlier on. As it was, I couldn't find myself sympathizing with this character at all. His fall affected me very little. Russell Crowe managed to sport the worst haircut of all time throughout the entire movie. Despite some attempts to create a fleshed out character in Richie Roberts, in the end you don't get a sense of anything more than boy-scout, albeit a boy-scout with a messy personal life. Strangely the only character that really elicited interest was the villainous bad cop, played by Josh Brolin. Rate ****

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