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movie review by David Blackwell

157 minutes, rated R
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

STARRING Russell Crowe (Richie Roberts), Denzel Washington (Frank Lucas), Armand Assante, Josh Brolin, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lymari Nadal, Ted Levine, Irdis Elba, Cuba Gooding Jr.

WRITTEN by Steve Zaillian (based on the article by Mark Jacobson)
DIRECTED by Ridley Scott

STUDIO: Universal Pictures/ Imagine Entertainment/ Scott Free
Theatrical RELEASE DATE: 11-2-2007
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Director Ridley Scott has been known for many intelligent films and even some very visual ones. He has been responsible for such masterpieces as ALIEN, BLADE RUNNER, BLACK RAIN, GLADIATOR, and KINGDOM OF HEAVEN (see the director's cut). AMERICAN GANGSTER marks his third collaboration with actor Russel Crowe (currently they are working on a fourth film together) and his first with Denzel Washington (who has worked with Ridley's brother, director Tony Scott, three times).

AMERICAN GANGSTER is based on a true story about black crime boss Frank Lucas (Washington) and cop Reggie Roberts (Crowe) out to bring him down. Their stories are told on different tracks only to collide later in the film. You see how people respect Lucas while others want to destroy him for upsetting the balance of power or causing harm to so many. Reggie Roberts becomes isolated after he turns in $1 million froma bookie's car. He is given a second chance when he is asked to form a drug taskforce. AMERICAN GANGSTER follows and dvelops each character to the very end. AMERICAN GANGSTER is a fantastic take on a small bit of history.

Lucas was smart drug kingpin. He saw an opening to import pure cocaine and heroin from Vietnam during teh Vietnam War. He sold it for cheaper and called it Blue Magic. He brought in his family to help run the business. One of his failings was he didn't know when to quit when he was ahead. Reggie Roberts was just as flawed as Lucas. He had a failed marriage and slept around. He did improve himself by passing the New Jersey bar exam. He goes from cop to lawyer during the film. He does lie to himself like Lucas lies to himself. They see themselves as better people than their rivals. In the end, Lucas might have a point. He and Roberts are more alike than they want to admit. AMERICAN GANGSTER is a great character study and a showcase for actors. One critic think Lucas is too controlled and made out to be an icon. However, Lucas was respected and feared. He hung out with the stars and gave back to the area where he was taught by his mentor. His big failing wa she let pride get in the way just like Roberts struggled to be a better cop wanting to be a lawyer. AMERICAN GANGSTER shines and I hope it gets many awards for one of the best pictures of 2007.

this movie review is (c)11-6-2007 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com  

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