Thursday, April 17, 2008

American Gangster

An enjoyable period piece. Russel Crowe is more interesting to watch than Denzel Washington, in part because his character contains the more unusual flaw: as his wife puts it in the divorce court, he uses his flawless probity on the job to give himself permission for all kinds of other domestic dishonesties.

However, I personally found it hard to swallow the idea that I should have more sympathy for a man who we first see pouring petrol over and setting fire to a fellow mobster than the legions of bent cops in the 70s NYPD, simply because having proud and sophisticated men of colour running the drugs trade rather than greasy Sicilians, is a sure sign of social progress.

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