Monday, October 29, 2007
The real 'American Gangster'
"American Gangster," with its terrific pedigree (Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, director Ridley Scott, screenwriter Steven Zaillian), comes out Friday. Advance reviews -- admittedly a small sampling -- have been mostly positive.

But if you want to get a sense of the real Frank Lucas -- Washington's character in the film -- check out Mark Jacobson's terrific 2000 article from New York magazine. If Washington can get half of this guy's charisma on screen, it'll be the performance of the year.

And there's also a documentary on Lucas, scheduled to air on BET October 31 at 10 p.m. ET. "He is every bit as gifted as you would expect," writes The New Yorker's David Denby. "He's also boastful, cynical, and, as far as we can see, dead to the bottom of the place where his soul should be."

That dovetails neatly with a description from Jacobson's wife. Hearing his interview tapes, she "leaned back in her chair," Jacobson writes. " 'Oh,' she said, 'you're doing a story on Satan ...' "
Although I have yet to see the film "American Gangster" with Denzel Washington. Iam not too
thrilled to see him play another character that surrounds drugs and crime. If people recall he won an award for his role in "Training Day", but was overlooked when he played "Malcolm X" (which by the way was phenonmenal to say the least). He is a great actor and provides a presence onscreen not done by many, however I believe most people would rather see him in more movies with substance and
leaves you with the thought "Wow I have to see that again".....


Kraig Rasool
Fort Washington Md
When american directors set out to make a movie about drugs, drug dealers....etc they never dig deep enough. Its almost like they dont want the real story to be told...British drug related films are brutal and worth seeing over and over ie: Trainspotting vs Traffic!!!

Kraig Rasool
Fort Washington Md
i just read mark jacobsons article and it was one of the most interesting articles ive read in years. i already like Frank Lucas and i know what terrible things hes done. what a guy!
I am one of those lucky people that actually saw the movie before it came out and it was GREAT!!! I didn't want the movie to end. Denzel played the character so well and of course I will watch the real Frank Lucas tonight on BET. It is so worth the money A MUST SEE!!!!
Mark Jacobson's interview with duke is dope (no pun intended).
Why complain that Denzel is playing a gangster, years after playing a bad cop in which he won an Oscar? He also won an Oscar for Glory in an honorable role. It's called diversity, I don't want him to play only "good guy" roles like Morgan Freeman. Yeah, Morgan is great, but every role he's the calm, mellow talking, wise, savior - boring! I'm sure if you asked Morgan one of his favorite roles was probably in Street Smart, because it was gritty. Russell Crowe plays all kinds of roles (3:10 to Yuma - bad guy; Gladiator - good). I'm a black man and not offended by Denzel's roles, I'm happy to see him diversify. Especially since I know he's going to play it truthfully without glorification. Huzzah Huzzah!
I'll go see anything with Russell Crowe in it. Reeeeeeyyaaahhr...purrrrrrr
Kraig,

Comparing Traffic to Transpotting is comparing apples to oranges.

Anyway if you want to see an American drug film that digs deep, try Requiem for a Dream.
I totally agree with Kraig. Washington should have defenitely won an award for Malcolm X, he was absolutely brilliant. But like Spike Lee said, he probably didn't win just because most people don't like Malcolm X to begin with. Keep in mind, at one point in his life, he hated whites, he was a powerful black man that terrified white people at the time, and most importantly, he was Muslim. So Denzel is defenitely not going to get an award for that! It's sad but true.
I saw the interview on BET and I saw the movie two days later. All I can say is, 'Thank you, Denzel, for realizing your dream and pursuing it. You are truly an artist of the first magnitude.' I believe Denzel captured the essence of Frank Lucas in the film. Mannerisms, facial expressions...he did his homework and it shows!
After watching American Gangster i came away with the feeling that Denzel did a fine job I personally Did not think oh this is Denzel i came away with what a wonderful actor
because i did not think oh Denzel is playing a gangster
Kraig Rasool
Fort Washington Md

hey dood american gangster is directed by a british man RIDLEY SCOTT (black hawk down, gladiator, blade runner)
I agree with Kraig Denzel should have won for both Malcolm X and Hurricane both compelling stories and acting that went unnoticed by the acadamy. However, the only way Washington can get noticed is in a role that just perpetuates negative stereotypes of African American males. What kind of message does that say to young black males?
Pj
this movie is boring....do not waste your money on it....the script is bad and has lots of holes.....
It was a great movie and Denzel Washington played a great role as Franc Lucas and as a drug lord he showed a great passion in his work.Russell Crowe was overshadowed by Washington. So it is one of the best movie of the year and a must watch movie.
Ok, first off, Traffic was a British mini-series before the film.

Second, I am totally offended by Todd Leopold's admiration for Frank Lucas's 'charisma'. The man helped to nearly destroy the black community in Harlem in the '70's with his super-dope. But, hey, who cares? He had PERSONALITY!
The hype leading up to American Gangster was unbelievable. It was the must see movie of the year and having the director being Ridley Scott, it must be good. But after watching the movie i thought it was terrible.

I've seen specials on Frank Lucas and and read articles around him and i feel that Denzel Washington did a great job portraying him in the movie. It may have been the only good thing about the movie. Denzel really did his homework and he did a heck of a job.

The movie itself was terrible. It was long and it dragged on with no sense of purpose. As one person said earlier there were way too many holes in the movie and their were too many pointless things going on. Maybe i just expected more with the hype that was brought with the movie but i do not recommend buying it/seeing it.
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