Gangs of New York (2002)
Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, Daniel Day-Lewis, Jim Broadbent, Liam Neeson, Brendan Gleeson
Plot: In 1863, Amsterdam Vallon returns to the Five Points area of New York City seeking revenge against Bill the Butcher, his father's killer.
Genre: Crime / Drama / History
Awards: Nom. for 10 Oscars - Best Picture, Best Director, Best Leading Actor, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Sound, Best Original Song.
Rating: M18 for intense strong violence, sexuality/nudity and language.
IN RETROSPECT (Spoilers: NO)
Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York (nominated for an amazing ten Oscars but failed to win even one) is a measured accomplishment. If Gangs of New York were helmed by another director, even the harshest critic would have labeled it the year's best film.
Because of our sky-high expectations for a Scorsese picture, whatever he does surely comes under more scrutiny. Many claim that Gangs is too commercialized, and is devoid of the usual Scorsese magic. Others complain that it's a slow, and dully-written film.
While this is not Scorsese's best effort (neither is it close to what he has achieved in his prime), Gangs of New York is still a very powerful period film. It's a slightly fictionalized account about the development of America in the mid-19th century.
The opening sequence (one of the my favourites!) is an incredible experience, almost spiritual-like. After that, it seems quiet by comparison. Scorsese takes his time to develop the characters, with Daniel Day-Lewis providing the star performance as Bill the Butcher.
Gangs of New York is Scorsese's first attempt to make a film on an epic scale. He succeeds to a favourable extent. But the film occasionally meanders about, huffing and puffing along. There's still much to appreciate though, and the ever so reliable Scorsese can be counted upon to paint a stunning picture of one of America's most turbulent periods.
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