American Gangster

Following an afternoon of fishing and dinner by Westshore Pizza (Philly style), the family headed to the Muvico at Baywalk. The girls saw Fred Claus, a comedic, seasonal feel-good while the guys saw American Gangster. I didn't know exactly what to expect; I had seen some previews, but nothing stuck with me. It follows in the footsteps of the Academy winner The Departed in that it follows organized crime.

I don't know if it qualifies as a "period piece" or not, being set in the early 70's, but it felt very authentic. We were thrown right into 1968. I don't like movies with too much exposition, though at times with one was a little frustrating in the beginning, keeping track of who people are and what they do. Very well acted by Denzel, though Russel Crowe's character was too similar to his other roles, mainly some ticks of Beautiful Mind and even a little Cinderella Man, too.

We really cared about the characters, despite Frank trafficking hundreds of kilos of heroin into the States. By the end, the audience was rooting for him, cold-blooded killer that he was, and the ending was satisfactory to our sense of justice and emotions. Ridley Scott did a good job directing/producing and spent a good amount of time developing 2 story arcs with Frank and Charlie.

The end, however fulfilling for Frank, omitted the post-movie life of Charlie, which I felt was disappointing.

This is rated R for a reason....regular language, but plenty of shooting heads being shot, needles & heroin, and (mainly) non-sexual nudity. This is a gritty crime drama that is probably a fairly accurate portrayal of the life and times.

PS--Baywalk, at night, on a weekend...its where all the teenies come to dress in black and baggy clothes and hang out until their moms come and pick them up in a minivan to return to suburbia.
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