Twenty-something Richard travels to Thailand and finds himself in possession of a strange map. Rumours state that it leads to a solitary beach paradise, a tropical bliss - excited and intrigued, he sets out to find it.
Having seen his father killed in a major gang fight in New York, young Amsterdam Vallon is spirited away for his own safety. Some years later, he returns to the scene of his father's death, the notorious Five Points district in New York. It's 1863 and lower Manhattan is run by gangs, the most powerful of which is the Natives, headed by Bill "The Butcher" Cutting. He believes that America should belong to native-born Americans and opposes the waves of immigrants, mostly Irish, entering the city. It's also the time of the Civil War and forced conscription leads to the worst riots in US history. Amid the violence and corruption, young Vallon tries to establish himself in the area and also seek revenge over his father's death. Written by
Cinematographer Michael Ballhaus was handed a lavish book of Rembrandt prints when he signed on to the film, and was told by Martin Scorsese that that was how he wanted the film to look like. See more »
Members of The Dead Rabbits dye red stripes on their shirts to show their alliance. The dye clearly ends at the seam that joins the sleeve to the shirt front, meaning This the fabric was dyed red before the shirt was sewn together. See more »
The appearance of law must be upheld, especially while it's being broken.
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Miramax Films and Touchstone Pictures logos are much different and larger than the normal logos and evoke a 1930s black and white style. See more »
Not That Bad but It's Not A Classic Scorsese Picture
" What did you think of Gangs Of New York ? " I asked my father who is also a big Scorsese fan .
" I thought it was a load of " ££$%^^$"£* £$% " he replied " The actors looked like they were all going to burst out singing "
I could see where he was coming from although I didn't disagree with him 100 % . GANGS OF NEW YORK had some really extreme opinions from its audience ,a point reflected in the comments thrown at it on this site .I didn't think it was as bad as my dad made out but like I said I could seewhere he was coming from
My major problem with the movie is the screenplay . the opening shot sees Bill " The Butcher " Cutting kill Priest Vallon in front of his son who runs away swearing revenge for his dead father . From that point onwards we know that the story will end years later with a confrontation between the two protagonists so there's no more dramatic twists for the story to take . Actually this in itself isn't too bad but what spoils the story is the way it's held up with the character interaction between Amsterdamn and Jenny Everdeane . Scorsese doesn't do romantic interlude very well and this movie proves it . In amongst this diversion there's something of a plot hole since Bill takes the young Amsterdamn under his wing even though he knows who he is . If you bumped off someones father in a street fight would you adopt their kids ? I didn't think so
This could have been an absolutely brilliant script and it is very good in places where we see how the gangs are structured , their ethnic mix and their political affiliations - Some are protestant with members who were born in America , some are catholic with many members born in Ireland , all are anglophobe and they all hate each other . We also see one of the most cynical episodes in American history where immigrants getting off ships at New York are immediately conscripted into the Union army unless they pay 300 dollars which eventually leads to the draft riots . When the movie concentrates on these parts of the plot it's a great film but becomes heavily bogged down by the character subplots
If Scorsese had directed this 20 years ago with a fraction of the budget he had here this could have been his masterwork but he seems to have overawed by riches . Everything is just a bit too grandiose and operatic to be entirely convincing . Charles Dickens had visited the five points and is recorded as saying it was the worst place on Earth . Scorsese makes the streets a little too clean , a little too Hollywood grunge , a little too glamorous in spite of everything . Leonardo Dicaprio is a very underrated actor held back by his startling good looks but he's wrong as Amsterdamn and wasn't right for the part which should have gone to an unknown . Cameron Diaz is totally unconvincing as Jenny and Scorsese could have easily given the part to a real life NY hooker while Daniel Day Lewis gives a powerhouse performance as Bill Cutting , however the role is slightly overplayed especially compared to Lewis's other work
Indeed everyone involved in GANGS OF NEW YORK in whatever capacity has done far better in other movies and at the end of the day this is a very unsatisfying flawed picture which received more nominations than it did prizes at award ceremonies , and I'm somewhat happy about that because this movie isn't a crowning achievement for anyone , especially Martin Scorsese or Daniel Day Lewis who are capable of better things
Seven out of Ten
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