This movie has received much acclaim for it's filming and acting. Does it live up to it?
I'm actually playing catch-up as I watched this some time ago.
When you think of gangster/mob movies what comes to mind? The Godfather series without question. Those movies are simply classics, and not because of the subject, but because of the cast, the filming, the directing, in essence the whole package. With the likes of director Ridley Scott, Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe you would expect American Gangster to reach a level of excellence close to The Godfather. Sadly, in my opinion, it doesn't.
This movie is very S L O W ….. painfully slow. Now I'm not one to shy away from a movie that gets deep into the thinking man's territory. After all one of my favs, 2001, is simply too slow and way too deep for many. But this movie seems to spend a lot of time in developing characters and plots that really fail to materialize. I don't believe the directing was part of the problem. Nor was it the acting, and I really like both Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe. I think it was the script, or the screenplay, or maybe just the story itself. It's based on a true story which oftens makes for a good movie, but in this case either it simply doesn't or it just wasn't adapted very well to screen. The plot is a pretty typical mob type film and simply doesn't need such slow development to portray that sort of genre. Maybe the problem lies in that the story overall was not that interesting or unique and so in order to embellish it they spent extra time on the characters. Who knows. It's just difficult to stay with it without finding yourself distracted by oh, watering the plants, or reading the news.
This is a good rental but doesn't rate a must see.