American Gangster is worth seeing
The movie is good, not great. It’s extremely well done and acted. However, given that it’s directed by Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down), I expected to be completely wowed – by maybe I am holding him to impossible standards. I should not complain too much: I was thoroughly entertained.
Despite opening with a bang – the movie has to establish Denzel Washington as a bad guy – the beginning is slow and long. I would have cut most of Russell Crowe’s back story with his wife – the character is so clear cut that the nuances don’t seem to add much. However, somehow the movie grows on you and you start caring about the characters. By the end, the pace has dramatically quickened and you can’t wait to see what happens next! I definitely recommend seeing the movie.
As a brief non sequitur: it’s one of the few movies where the two nemesis share almost no screen time together. In fact for most of the movie, they don’t know of the existence of the other. While the concept of two enemies never jousting in person would seem counter intuitive, it was extremely well done and effective!