October 18th, 2007
So American Gangster is coming out in a few weeks. I was lucky enough to score four “sneak preview” tickets. I always thought that was a misnomer since the sneak preview seemed to refer to showings the day before opening, probably at midnight, so you were hardly getting in early. This was a true film screening though, and being a poor college student and all, that’s a pretty sweet deal when the tickets are free.
The movie is not unlike Blow in that it describes the rise and fall of a man who imports illegal drugs. In this case it’s Frank Lucas (played by Denzel Washington), an extremely powerful drug lord in Harlem back in the 1970s. I liked it, although it wasn’t as good as Blow, which surprised me since I thought Blow tried too hard to make George Jung bad but likable. George Jung killed to get ahead but they didn’t show that in the Blow. Frank Lucas was portrayed mostly for what he was, and was more likable regardless. Still, Blow had something that American Gangster doesn’t, and I think it’s a plot. It just sort of meanders around his life as he supplies Heroin to New York and the effort to bring him down. Russell Crowe did a good job, but I’m too much of a sucker for Denzel to care when he’s on the screen and Denzel isn’t.
Regardless of my complaints, it’s still worth seeing. Worth every penny, but unless it’s the best I’ve ever seen, I always compare it to the best so sue me. Denzel is as good as ever if you like him as much as I do. Ridley Scott proves again he knows how to direct a movie. I’m not sure where the American (human?) attraction to crime figures comes from, but this is another pit-stop in our appreciation of our greatest criminals through movies.