Home > Entertainment > American Gangster: A Belated Review

American Gangster: A Belated Review

17-Jun-08 12:10 am EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

It was out in fall 2007, but I didn’t get to see it until just this past weekend.  But what a pleasant surprise was American Gangster!  Starring Denzel Washington and Russel Crowe, the movie portrays the life and times of former drug lord Frank Lucas and the remarkable career of Ritchie Roberts, the cop-turned-prosecutor who brought Lucas to justice.  The movie also documents the importation of heroin from Vietnam during the Vietnamese War and its near cataclysmic effect on the lives of many living in New York City during the early-to-mid 1970s.

The movie is a remarkable story left unto itself, but told with the exquisite talent of Washington and Crowe championing one through tale as dark and complex as this is, not only brings the story to life, but lifts it to the status of a truly great American epic.  And the characters being played – themselves alive and well today – comment on how closely their roles are portrayed in an MSNBC documentary just prior to the movie’s release.  Of course, such a review by those whom the movie portrays only reinforces the realism that Hollywood’s own "based on a true story" clichés detract from readily.

What critique I can only too humbly offer deals with the comments of the actors themselves in the follow-up interviews.  To anyone who has known or had their lives touched by drug addiction, the outright blaming of a drug dealer for the addictions of everyone else may seem gratuitous.  I can’t blame the actors – neither Washington nor Crowe have dealt with addiction to heroin, but like so many others in the world have very strong opinions on the subject of drugs and drug addiction.  And I don’t mean to say that addicts get what they deserve here either – but it must be acknowledged that deciding to use drugs to the point of addiction (opiates like heroin included) is almost always a mistake.  A mistake with many causes.  A mistake produced by human failings.  The lesson of this movie should be that no mistake – including those made by Frank Lucas – should be of a nature that bears permanent consequence (or at least without any opportunity of redemption).  And for the most part, I think that Ritchie Roberts, Frank Lucas, Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington all share that view.

Categories: Entertainment
  1. 19-Mar-11 09:23 am EDT at 09:23 am EDT

    Best of all, there are top-flight performances from both Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe who create interesting, rounded characters out of potential clichés. This isn’t perfect, but it was at least entertaining. Good review, check out mine when you can!


  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


Breaching the barrier between PC and Console.

Terry Glavin


Techno Manor

Geek's Corner


an IT blog.. and an occasional rant

Yammer Site Status

Is Yammer down? Offline? Broken? Undergoing scheduled maintenance? When will it be back? Find out here.


A journey full of wonderful experiences

Azure and beyond

My thoughts on Microsoft Azure and cloud technologies


Startup and Technology News

Ottawa Citizen

Ottawa Latest News, Breaking Headlines & Sports

National Post

Canadian News, World News and Breaking Headlines

Targeted individuals's

One Government to rule them all.

Joey Li's IT Zone

Everything about IT


Unravelling the magik of code...

The Bike Escape

Because Cycling is Life

The Ross Report

Now you know where you need to know more...

Lights in the Dark

A journal of space exploration

Strength Rehabilitation Institute

Bridging the gap between physiotherapy and exercise.

Little Girl's Mostly Linux Blog

Nothing to see here. Move along...

%d bloggers like this: