Tuesday, September 9, 2008

American Gangster

I have waited over a month since seeing American Gangster to write my review. The movie was an exceptionally well produced movie. I wanted to give myself time to write a review that would be fair to the cinematic aspects of the movie in spite of the short-comings in the truthfulness of this film. I will rate this movie purely on it's cinematic qualities, but will get on my soapbox to set the record straight. This film was fundamentally unfair and untruthful in respect to the allegedly factual statement at the end of the movie regarding the prosecution of 3/4 of the NY DEA following Frank Lucas' arrest. That statement is purely a lie and Universal Studios will probably find themselves in a class action lawsuit to defend against the defamation of hundreds of brave men who served the city of New York and the United States during the investigation of Frank Lucas. First, about the film...

Although several fabrications were woven into this story to make for good cinema, the dialogue in this movie was exceptional. It was a gripping story that was captivating and interesting. The fact that it is based on true events makes it even more interesting. I should note that the movie failed in accurately portraying the role NYC DEA played in prosecuting Lucas over a year before New Jersey ever got a chance at prosecution. Additionally, Lucas wife was assaulted in the movie, during a search of the house, where money was allegedly stolen during the course of the search. The assault and theft never happened. In Lucas deposition to the US Attorney's Office following his arrest, he stated that the money in his house was a weekend's take and thought that half a million dollars sounded about right. The statement at the end of the movie about 3/4 of the NY DEA being indicted following Lucas' arrest was also false. In a movie based on factual events, I expect a little bit of drama. But a written statement at the end of the movie is not taken as drama, but fact. Universal Studios should be absolutely ashamed of themselves for this unwarranted defamation of the honorable men and women of the NYPD and DEA.

Now that I'm off my soapbox, I would like to comment on the all star cast. Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington in a movie directed by Ridley Scott. Wow. The exceptional acting that you would expect from a group like this is exactly what is delivered. Throw in Josh Brolin, Cuba Gooding Jr., Ted Levine and others, and you have a phenomenal group of actors who contributed to a flawless piece of drama. (Flawless in the sense of the acting). This was one of the best movies of 2007, largely due to the acting.

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