Thriller and Crime/Gangster. Rated R.
In the world of Frank
Lucas, you're either somebody ... or you're nobody.
Together onscreen for the first time since Virtuosity
twelve years ago, Oscar winners Denzel Washington and Russell
Crowe are on opposite sides of the law again in American Gangster.
Directed by Ridley Scott, who also worked with Crowe in 2000's
Gladiator, it is based on the true story of Frank Lucas
(Washington), who was born in Harlem and learned everything there
is know about the streetsand more through his mentor, mobster
When Bumpy died, Frank becomes his own person and is in charge
of his own organization, becoming the reputed kingpin in the drug
trade through the late 60s and into the early 1970s -- smuggling
heroin into the United States from Southeast Asia during the Vietnam
War. However, Frank's reign is about to come to an end, as Detective
Richie Roberts (Crowe) heads up an covert, anti-drug fighting
unit to bring Lucas to justice.
American Gangster is similar to 1995's Heat,
starring another pair of Oscar winners, Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro,
who are also on opposite sides of the law. In both movies, neither
actor has never any scene with one another until either the middle
or the climax of the movie. With Heat and American
Gangster, you have two incredible and talented actors that
are at the top of their game and still in the prime of their careers.
What makes American Gangster work is the ambiguity of
the main characters, who are redeemable, have humanity, and yet
are heroes in their own way. Despite his illegal activities, Frank
Lucas is a "noble criminal" because he loves his family
and looks out for them. For instance, he takes his mother to church
on Sundays. He is an educated, successful businessman, a husband,
brother, and friend as well as a pillar of the community that
believes in hard work and the importance of family. Richie Roberts
is going through a divorce, as he doesn't see his young son much
because of "the job", and always has an wandering eyes
for the ladies. However, he is an dedicated, honest cop that is
determined to see justice done, and believes in doing the right
thing -- no matter what the cost, no matter what anybody says.
Worthy of being an contender for the Academy Awards with strong
performances, American Gangster continues to shoot its
way into theaters right now.