Gangs of New York (2002)

Director:  Martin Scorsese
Cast:  Leonardo DiCaprioCameron 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.
Runtime:  167min
Rating:  M18 for intense strong violence, sexuality/nudity and language.

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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