Film Review: American Gangster

by Pat Johnson

Director Ridley Scott has said that he is attracted to projects that let him create unique worlds. Arguably he's done this with classics like Alien, Gladiator and Legend, and while the result is less striking with this 1970's gangster pic, the movie itself is an immersive experience. As much an entrepreneur story as a crime saga, the movie follows a gangster through his rise and decline without moral judgment. The end result is a gripping cop and robber tale that recreates a historical period we are familiar with (America during the Vietnam War) from a currently relevant perspective (drug trade/war profiteering) without shortchanging the human drama. Expect the DVD box to have 'academy award winner' on it somewhere.