I was in LA when this movie premièred in early November 2007. I wanted to really catch it then but between meetings and having to stand in line to get into the theatre I told myself I’ll have to catch it back home. It took me a while, since it opened a couple of weeks ago but I’m glad I caught it. With Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe, I knew at least the acting would be solid and I had geared myself up for Ridley Scott’s usual masculine direction.
The movie is based on a true life events set from the time of the late 60s to the early 70s. Without giving much away, the story surrounds how one nobody from North Carolina grew a very successful business no one thought he could build, how one cop struggles with the definition of honesty and between the two of them brought down corruption that was crippling the narcotics department of the police. However, it was after all a movie and you can’t squeeze all the facts from all those years into a mere 158minutes. So there were some under developed moments and you can’t get why some people did what they did.
Anyway, like another based on real life events mouse-and-cat movie, Catch Me If You Can, the good guy and the bad guy become friends in the real end. I guess a mutual respect for being able to do what you do well comes naturally. A brilliant gangster despite all his wrongdoings is still brilliant, enough for the real cop to be the godfather of the real gangster’s son. Frank Lucas, the brilliant gangster was truly a smart business man, not only did he find a good and trusted source of his products – heroine, he managed to get the US Army to be his main courier. Imagine that.
You know what’s a strange coincidence? The equally brilliant bad guy from Catch Me If You Can is called Frank too. Even more strange the name means truthful or free. Go figure.
Meanwhile, American Gangster is still a good enough movie to catch … I wouldn’t buy the DVD but I’d rent it if I didn’t already watch it on the big screen. So don’t worry if you haven’t seen it, just catch the DVD.