Thursday, January 31, 2008

American Gangster: A gangster film that even if it bears the signs of the directing mastership of Ridley has few things to offer

A black man manages to import the purest cocaine from Vietnam and sell it in America. His enterprising spirit and the teaching of his old boss (the previous black mafia chief) help his ascend to the higher levels of the social ladder and to gain the status of the most important gangster of America. His organization combines elements of both Italian mafia and crime in the black ghetto. From one hand he bases his works on his family as Italians do, and he claims territories as smaller criminals do. In the end he is discovered and arrested by an incorruptible policeman. He decides to cooperate with the police and help bring to justice not only his fellow criminals but also the corrupted policemen.
Ridley Scot manages to build a film that is fairly interesting even if it is not arresting or special. The spectator can easily watch that film even id he doesn’t really get involved in the story. The script is well enough written, coherent and with good character building but with no twists and turns and no big surprises. It remains rather flat throughout the whole duration of the film rendering rather slow. Both leading actors, Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe do a really good acting job and this is one of the serious plus of the movie
In Ridley’s Scot mob film the super gangster the chief –surprise, surprise-is black. Would any one believe that racism could effect the preconceptions about a gangster? It actually does. Somehow no one would expect the biggest gangster to be black. In American film black are small time crooks they are not into organized crime. Italians as (supposedly) more sophisticated are specialized in this. The Denzel Washington character even if is a major drug dealer and a ruthless killer somehow is presented in a light almost positive. He follows the American ideal by being hard-working, inventive, loyal to family and friends, humble and in some peculiar way even just. After all these good elements the spectators are pleased to find out that the cop that arrested him and made a deal with his ended up defending his in court and getting him out of prison sooner that the court had decided in the first place. How can a gangster a killer can end up as a persona that the spectator can relate to and sympathize with is a thing beyond my comprehension.
All and all American gangster proves that even a great director and two actors don’t always make a great movie. The delicate balance of a masterpiece or even of a great movie is hard to achieve.

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