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American ­Gangster This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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In the past decade, movie ­theaters have seen more than their share of films that, after months of hype, turn out to be complete flops. Critics have long bemoaned unrealistic, ­predictable scripts. “American Gangster,” starring Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington, arrives just in time.

Director Ridley Scott’s masterpiece has everything I look for in a dramatic movie. Scott creates two very realistic characters. Frank Lucas (Washington) is a mobster who gains power when his boss dies of a heart attack. He travels to Thailand to buy heroin, which he then transports to the U.S. in military planes at a tremendous profit.

Simultaneously, New Jersey detective Richie Roberts (Crowe) attempts to take down the well-organized drug traffickers like Lucas. Washington does a phenomenal job portraying the clever but brutal Lucas. The actor and real-life gangster actually met during production, enabling Washington to get the feel for Lucas’s mannerisms, facial expressions, and his signature response, “My man.”

His performance is equaled only by Crowe’s brilliance as Roberts, a flawed man who is one of the few honest police officers in 1960s New York City and Newark. From his problems with women to his staunch ­opposition to the drug lords, every aspect of Roberts is well-portrayed­ by Crowe.

In a battle between the good guys and bad guys, the fight is not just won with dramatic speeches or dragged-out standoffs, but with blunt action.

The characters always retain their tough, determined nature, allowing the viewer to be both visually and mentally pleased. I strongly recommend this film to anyone who is tired of the usual blockbuster and can ­appreciate fast action and the reality of life for an American gangster.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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This article has 4 comments. Post your own!

skrubtchzsgetmoney said...
Jul. 17, 2009 at 2:32 am:
movie had two or three real good scenes
lucas' race is not enough though to hold together the movie thematically because being that it's a michael mann film, it has to be so many other things at once as well..
 
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e22ddie46 said...
Dec. 29, 2008 at 3:27 am:
I disagree. The movie didn't have any of the drama or suspense of a great gangster movie. The scenes were just predictable, it was simply, "oh he's going to die now," and lost most of what the greats have. Crowe and Denzel were good but not incredible and overall left me with a feeling of discontent. Watch the classics, Godfather, Goodfellas, Untouchables or even watch the new one, Departed
 
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gotcha2twice said...
Nov. 10, 2008 at 8:08 pm:
needs work. it doesn't really surprise me as good.
 
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JamesMagee said...
Oct. 7, 2008 at 2:04 pm:
a thrilling movie! i think the ending was a little complicated and needed a little work but as a junior film maker, i can relate.
 
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