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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A Story Almost Absent in American Memory

Author: LeonLouisRicci from United States
20 April 2014

It's Hard to Fathom that a Film can be Nominated for 10, count em, Academy Awards and not Win One. But that's Indicative of the Gap that Exists between Fans and Critics on the Merits, or Lack, that this Scorsese Labor of Love has Produced.

Speaking of Production, it is well known that the Film was Costly, Troubled, Delayed, and otherwise Cursed. But what was Delivered is Compelling if not Perfect. If it does have a Failing, it is the Revenge Theme, the Love Story, and a Weakness in its Casting of Leonardo DiCaprio.

The Movie's Strength is its Capture of the the Time and Place, the Hordes and the Corrupt and Xenophobic Leaders in this Tumultuous Time in the Nations Melting Pot. It is an Historical Meilu that is Unfamiliar, Conveniently Forgotten, Swept Under, and is Really an Embarrassing Truth about Tribal Warfare and Pig-Headed, Ignorant People Existing in Squalor and is a Filthy Fact that is not Easily Embraced.

That could be One of the Reasons for the Film's Detractors. It is Anything but Pretty. The Driving Force in the Film, other than the Outstanding Sets, Costumes, and Production is Daniel Day Lewis' Unforgettable and Unrestrained Performance as Bill the Butcher. The rest of the Cast just cannot Keep Up with HIs Dominating Presence.

While not a Great Film, it is Nevertheless Excellent and Important. Hypnotic, Dense, and Determined it Accomplishes more than its Critics will Admit. There is a Weakness in the Central, Personal Story but it more than makes up for it in the Grandeur of its Historical Hindsight that is a Welcome Inclusion because it has been a Purposeful Non-Entry in the American Mindset.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Heavy-Drama-War-Action Film

Author: esines_sovran from Albania
8 February 2014

Scorsese and Leo definitely when they team up create something new .

Really Heavy , Drama , War , Action Film too hard to understand it but it was just a great movie . I mean it had a really dark side and showed also the dark side of Leo an Cameron Diaz which sincerely I have won more respect after seeing her performance in here because earlier I just thought she was just fitted in teen comedy movies .

Great historical drama film talks about revenge , pride , respect , racism , love , drama very very heavy film to watch I think those who are like over 30 can watch it and understand it more good than a teenager .

Great direction by Scorsese creating legend movies with always a great cast on his side that never fails him . Loved the performance of Leo really showed his capability of acting in this traumatic , dramatic , emotional , brave character and really it fits him . Also Cameron Diaz an impressed performance not expecting it at all .

Awesome movie was worth it watching it for 2 hours and 31 minutes :D

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Good film, but with flaws.

Author: Patrik Pettersson from Sweden
6 February 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a short review and it contains spoilers so don't read this if you haven't seen 'Gangs of New York'.

I enjoyed this film a lot, but there are a few points I have that affected my rating on it, I have a short list below of negative points I'd like to mention.

1. The movies is too long, there were a lot of scenes in there that really wasn't necessary to move the story forward, yet the movie is nearly three hours long. The first time I saw was on television that had commercial breaks so in the end I had spent about 3.5 hours watching this. I enjoy long movies, but like I said, there are so many filler scenes in there that it wasn't necessary to make it this long.

2. Bad Irish accents. This is not too big of an issue, but it was quite annoying. I am not Irish myself, but it still bothered me when some of the American actors tried to speak with an Irish accent when it sounded horrible. The worst one I think was John C. Reilly's performance. His acting was pretty good, but that accent was just plain bad.

3. This is my biggest issue with the film, I liked William Cutting (Butcher Bill) more than Amsterdam! Amsterdam was sometimes annoyingly stupid and Butcher Bill wasn't the best antagonist, the character was brilliant and I really liked Daniel Day-Lewis's performance. However, in Amsterdam's eyes he was this psycho asshole who killed Amsterdams father, 'Priest' Vallon. This is not the case since it is obvious that Bill respected him and he killed him honorably. Then Amsterdam still acts like an idiot and tries to kill him in front of everyone and fails completely. The thing I didn't like about the Butcher was that when Amsterdam attacked him from behind he thought he was a coward for doing so, but later he just throws an axe in Brendan Gleeson's characters back! Before this scene Bill seemed to be living with some honor and by some moral rules, but he just breaks it all of a sudden, doesn't make sense to me.

Anyways, it's overall a good film and definitely worth watching even though it suffers at times.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Favorite movie of all time

Author: cassandratay23 from United States
6 January 2014

This is my favorite movie of all time. Daniel day Lewis' character " The Butcher" is the best character I've ever seen in a film. I've seen reviews where people complain about it not being " historically correct " no where in the film does it say it's completely based off of history. Anyone who knows about history knows that it was called the five points and that the " Gangs of New York" existed but the names and a lot of the factual events are unknown. Leonardo Dicaprio is fantastic as always but Daniel Day Lewis steals the show and he is why this movie is so great. Sad to see it's only a 7.5 rating. Don't let that fool you this movie is a hidden gem and will make you feel like you went on an amazing adventure.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Very Different Movie For The Main Cast and Director,and Done Very Well,

Author: Dillon Harris from Ireland
26 August 2013

Gangs of New York is a brilliant movie with an extremely well developed storyline and a really talented cast that stay in character perfectly for the whole.Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz both gave dazzling performances,but the best performance has to go to Daniel Day Lewis,he is an unbelievably great actor who is always really believable in his roles,and you know he must be a great actor if he manages to out shine two big stars like them.The three main actors all worked really well together,and they did a really great job,especially for the fact that these three characters are very different compared to any character any of the three have played before and I was very impressed.I was also overall very impressed with the Irish theme in this movie,i'm from Ireland and I usually find American movies take on the Irish very exaggerated,but it was done very well in this,Martin Scorsese knew what he was doing.Gangs of New York is a must see for all fans of Leonardo DiCaprio,Cameron Diaz and Daniel Day Lewis and of course the very talented director,Martin Scorsese.

Amsterdam Vallon (Leonardo DiCaprio) returns to his hometown of New York City seeking revenge against Bill the Butcher (Daniel Day Lewis),a man who killed his father in front of him when he was very young.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Born in the streets

Author: hall895 from New Jersey
25 August 2013

Gangs of New York takes a fascinating look at a largely forgotten slice of American history. As the film's tagline states, America was born in the streets. This is the tale of the 19th century Irish immigrants who came to New York City to build a new life for themselves and of the "Natives" who tormented them. Put "Natives" in quotation marks because they are not natives at all, their ancestors came over from Europe just as the Irish were doing now. But, led by the villainous Bill the Butcher, the Natives make life miserable for the poor Irish who are just trying to survive in New York's notorious Five Points slum. Bill the Butcher rules the Five Points with an iron fist, the Irish rally behind their own leader, Priest Vallon, to oppose him. The film opens with a battle in the streets, the Butcher's gang of Natives squaring off with the Priest's Dead Rabbits, his gang of Irishmen (and an Irish lady, the fearsome Hell-Cat Maggie). Carnage ensues, this is one of the most violent, blood-soaked scenes ever seen in any film. Brutal, raw violence, hand-to-hand combat which ends with Priest Vallon falling under the Butcher's knife. Young Amsterdam Vallon witnesses his father's death. He is sent off to the orphanage. He'll be back.

16 years pass before Amsterdam returns to the Five Points. It is now 1862, the Civil War now rages and that war will come to touch the city. But the story the film follows is not of the grand scope of the great war but a smaller, more personal tale of Amsterdam's quest for vengeance. But it is not as easy as just turning up in the Five Points and stabbing Bill the Butcher while he sleeps. Bill is the king of the Five Points and you kill a king where everyone can watch him die. Amsterdam makes plans to kill the Butcher at the annual commemoration of the victory of the Natives over the Dead Rabbits. But that is months away. In the meantime Amsterdam falls under Bill's sway, rising to become the right-hand man of the unwitting Butcher who does not know the young man's true identity. Eventually the time will come when Amsterdam must make his move. And then things will explode.

While the tale that Martin Scorsese tells here is a highly fictionalized account of what went on in the Five Points it is still a very worthy look at that unique time and place. The main storyline here may seem to be just a simple revenge story but there is so much else swirling around. Amsterdam and Bill the Butcher are not the only characters who have their own stories to tell. But it is the confrontation between those two characters which is at the heart of the film. That confrontation is made all the more fascinating by the fact they spend so much of the film as allies, Bill treating Amsterdam quite ironically almost as a son. Knowing Amsterdam's ultimate intentions you almost feel sorry for the Butcher. Almost. Because it is hard to generate true sympathy for this villainous, murderous man. An amazing character brought to life in a tour de force performance by Daniel Day-Lewis. Day-Lewis plays the part with white-hot burning intensity. It would be a challenge for any actor to match him but Leonardo DiCaprio proves up to the task in the role of Amsterdam.

The brilliant performance of Day-Lewis is the best thing the film has to offer but there is much more here to catch the eye. DiCaprio is excellent as well and a fine cast of supporting players chip in splendidly. Most notable are Brendan Gleeson as another Irishman who will cross the Butcher and Jim Broadbent as the gleefully corrupt Boss Tweed. John C. Reilly, Henry Thomas, Liam Neeson and a host of lesser-known performers help to bring the Five Points to life. Perhaps the only misstep is Cameron Diaz who never entirely convinces in her role of a woman caught between Amsterdam and the Butcher. Diaz is not awful by any means but her performance just seems off a bit, she never quite seems to fit the role. Another issue comes with the film's ending, the sense that the climax doesn't quite match the epic opening. But these are only minor quibbles with a generally excellent film. Scorsese tells his fascinating story well, eventually weaving the larger war story into the mix. We see not just a personal battle between two men but ultimately a nation indeed being born in the streets. Visually the film is a masterpiece, Scorsese filling the frame beautifully. The bloody opening battle sets the tone for both the film's story and its look. The story holds your interest throughout and the look of the piece is just remarkable, the Five Points brought to brilliant life. This is a story which demanded to be told and that story could not have been placed in any better hands than those of Scorsese. This film does justice to those history has largely forgotten, those who through their working, living and dying built America.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Watch this for Daniel Day-Lewis

Author: motorfocus82 from United States
24 January 2012

There are obviously problems with this movie. The story is crappy, Diaz is superfluous and Leo is barely passable. And wow, is it long. They could have cut out huge portions of the thing and it would have been tighter and much more interesting.

For the people who say that the behavior of the mobs is unrealistic: Read a history book. The portrayal of people at their worst is refreshingly frank, and while Scorsese is pro-poor, he thankfully isn't deluded enough to BS this topic. The history of that period, of urban gang life and unrest, really stands out as the second most interesting part of the film to me, and it was really disappointing that Scorsese had to tack on a dull revenge/romance plot to justify spending the money to bring the period to life. I definitely think Scorsese should have found a better way, story-wise, to integrate the characters into the history. The cinematography is very good, same as the glimpse into the culture. If the story had been fresh or unpredictable or... meh

Anyway, the MOST interesting part of this thing is Daniel Day-Lewis, playing a character with a charisma all his own. You can't look away when he's on screen. This is, for some people, a form of overacting, but not me. I thought Lewis' performance was fantastic, nearly as good as his role in There Will Be Blood, and I'm definitely looking forward to his portrayal of Lincoln.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A Timeless Villain is Born

Author: crazy-ben66 from United Kingdom
11 December 2010

Gangs of New York is a movie felt by many to be a turn in the career of legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese. It's dark and threatening tone paints a glum portrait of 19th century New York, drawing forth a pre-emptive revenge tale at the heart of the broken city.

Leonardo DiCaprio generates a career changing performance as Amsterdam, a distraught Irish orphan, plagued by the loss of his war-lord father (Liam Neeson) at the hands of the truly menacing William Cutting, or known by his 'street' alias, "Bill the Butcher" (an unforgettable Daniel Day-Lewis in his most iconic role). It is of course Day-Lewis who truly steals the show, ripping the shards of emotional drama from under the squelching shoes of an older, maturer DiCaprio than seen previously. This outing, boiling the former child-actor in bloodied fury, forcing his supposed unsalvageable career into a whole new league of adult- orientated entertainment.

Scorsese slices open the heart of American history, heaving its nasty past onto the screen in all its glory for all to see, unflinching in his presentation. The opening scene alone is a shower of gore and uncensored warfare, setting up the generic tale of "keep your friends close but your enemies closer" which takes place 16 years later. Having watched his father butchered by the leader of the gang known as the "Natives", a now older, tougher Amsterdam forces himself into the hands of controlling mob-boss Cutting who playfully jests with the vengeful soul. At 160 minutes, the film twists this story with inserts detailing the corruption and hardships of post-modern America, with focus particularly on the Civil War. This is Scorsese's unfortunate downfall, forcing an unrelated history lesson down the throats of the viewer when what he really should be doing is featuring more of the demented villain in all his unrelenting power. From the first glimpse of his curled moustache, William Cutting is an instant bad-ass, his menacing grace projected into the thoughts of the viewers at all times, his looming spirit ever-present. He is the true saviour of this, at times, sour tale of generic redemption.

By the time the Third Act final rolls in, boredom has spread and Scorsese's raw desire to leave nothing out becomes a hideous nuisance. So it was truthfully very wise for the master to leave the best for last. The final part of the film ditches the previous tripe at the road side, striking up a new angle on the tale of revenge (which frankly, he should have used from the start and made the movie an hour shorter) and fronting the finale with a war to end all wars. It is here when the film truly hits its stride, shamefully a mere 40 minutes before the end leaving this writer questioning the story-boarding skills of one Jay Cocks. An epic closure to the tale does however ensue, although the final battle more anti-climactic than expected, the departure of one character disappointingly average.

Overall, Scorsese's bloodied mirage of a forgotten New York City is an intense but emotionally forgettable experience. Overly long and full of tiresome historical pieces, the film lacks the gruelling and torturous finale it deserved and presented too many careless loose ends (Cameron Diaz becoming a non-essential lump of furniture within the tale). By no means a masterpiece but still a fantastic turn for the legendary director and a career-high for both Day-Lewis and DiCaprio, even if they did lack the powerful, crazed scenes which were hinted at several times throughout the script. The un-forgiving violence never lets up, providing a truthful take on an unknown story, pushing forth an original picture. Don't be fooled by the awards binge, this is no Oscar worthy delight, but an easily watchable and gruesomely memorable thriller.


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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Not perfect, but still recommended...

Author: ajs-10 from United Kingdom
18 November 2010

This film has been lurking in my DVD collection for some time now. The trouble is, it's hard to find the nigh on three hours required to watch this epic. Fortunately, having been ordered to take my holidays, or lose them, a day off provided the necessary time-slot. It's a movie with tremendous scope that shows a side of New York history I wasn't aware of. Although not perfect, it still has a lot going for it. But more of that later, here's a very brief summary first (summary haters please assume the crash position for the next paragraph).

We begin in 1846 at the Five Points, a district of New York notorious for its poverty and for its gangs. A clash between two gangs, the 'Native Americans', predominantly white, who were born there and the 'Dead Rabbits', predominantly Irish immigrants, leaves the leader of the 'Dead Rabbits', 'Priest' Vallon, dead. His killer, leader of the other gang, Bill 'The Butcher' Cutting shows mercy on his young son and sends him away. Sixteen years later the son, Amsterdam Vallon, returns to the Five Points seeking revenge, but prepared to bide his time. He decides to get close to Cutting and manages to do so with some great cunning. He meets Jenny Everdeane and falls for her, but she is indebted to Cutting and so Amsterdam, at first, spurns her, but we all know that isn't going to last. This is all told against the backdrop of the American Civil War and President Lincoln's plans to bring in a draft on the citizens of New York. There is a lot of feeling about this and the citizens are getting restless. Also, a politician, William 'Boss' Tweed is always trying to buy the votes of the residents of the Five Points by siding with Cutting on certain matters, a situation that doesn't go down to well with certain factions. Now, having infiltrated Cutting's inner circle, it's time for Amsterdam to strike… and it's here I'll leave my short summary… what? You didn't really expect me to give the ending away did you?... Shame.

This is a beautifully made film; everything from the cinematography to the set design to the costumes is all really well done. Some great performances too, especially from Daniel Day-Lewis, as Bill 'The Butcher' Cutting, it is a pleasure to watch every scene he is in. Also praiseworthy are; Leonardo DiCaprio as Amsterdam Vallon and Cameron Diaz as Jenny Everdeane. Honourable mentions also go to; Jim Broadbent as William 'Boss' Tweed, John C. Reilly as Happy Jack Mulraney and Henry Thomas as Johnny Sirocco.

I was afraid at first that this was going to be just another of those damned "America loves everything Irish" kind of movies, which I totally despise! Fortunately Scorsese knows better than that and what we get is a more balanced view of things (for a change). The film is a little too long for my liking and I found it quite easy to draw parallels with the likes of 'Goodfellas' and 'Once Upon A Time in America', but I can forgive that. It is enthralling throughout and a great visual spectacle, if just for the height of the top hats and Daniel Day-Lewis's moustache and trousers! They are tremendous! Over all, if you can make the time… Highly recommended.

My score: 7.6/10

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Too Much "Gang" For One Bang!

Author: zardoz-13 from United States
30 August 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Director Martin Scorsese's long awaited urban crime saga "Gangs of New York," starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Jim Broadbent, paints a vivid but unsavory picture of ethnic and racial intolerance in 19th century New York City against the bloody Union Draft Riots of 1863. Best known for his cinematic Italian mafia masterpieces: "Mean Streets" (1973, "Goodfellas" (1990), and "Casino" (1995), Scorsese explores the bigotry boiling over between white Anglo-Saxon, Protestant Americans and first-generation Irish immigrant in this costume-clad, period piece. Oscar-winning British actor Daniel Day-Lewis of "My Left Foot" takes top acting honors as a heavily mustached villain with a stovepipe hat who clashes with Irish good guy DiCaprio of "Titanic" fame.

Scorsese's lengthy 164-minute evocation of New York during the American Civil War gives audiences a glimpse of history that they may have never seen, especially when pugnacious Northerners lynch African-Americans. If Scorsese's politically incorrect posture isn't galling enough, he allows one of New York City worst criminals, Tammany Hall's Boss Tweed (British actor Jim Broadbent of "The Avengers") to emerge as a somewhat likable though thoroughly unscrupulous fellow. Like virtually all Scorsese movies, "Gangs of New York" relies on a narrator to fill in the gaps of the film's sprawling exposition.

"Gangs of New York" opens one snowy morning in 1846 with a ferocious fistfight between William 'Bill the Butcher' Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his chief rival 'Priest' Vallon (Liam Neeson of "Star Wars: Episode One") for control over New York's Lower East Side. Cutting heads up a gang of proud Nativists. Not only do they hate the Irish, but also they despise freed African-Americans. During the savage battle of Five Points, as their fracas becomes known, Cutting carved up Vallon while Vallon's son Amsterdam watches. Afterward, Amsterdam winds up in an orphanage. When he leaves the orphanage some 16 years later, Vallon returns to Five Points to square accounts with Cutting. New York City consists largely of tribal gangs, while corrupt public officials, like corrupt public officials, like the infamous Boss Tweed, dominate municipal affairs. Eventually, Cutting accepts Amsterdam as one of his own, and Amsterdam ascends the ladder of success. He becomes Bill's second in charge. Pretty pickpocket Jenny Everdeane (Cameron Diaz of "There's Something About Mary") catches the eyes of both Amsterdam and his old pal Johnny Sirocco (Henry Thomas of "E.T.") but never comes between them for the worse. Imagine Bill's surprise when he learns Amsterdam is the Priest's son.

Thinly etched characters and obvious plot contrivances dilute the less than compelling screenplay by film critic Jay Cocks of "The Age of Innocence," Steve Zaillian of "Schindler's List," and Kenneth Lonergan of "Analyze This." Never should the villain eclipse the hero as 'Butcher Bill' does Amsterdam! The writers develop their villain with greater substance, stature, and ambiguity. Meanwhile, DiCaprio's shallow, one-dimensional Irish hero blends into the background. Simply said, Day-Lewis Cutting radiates more charisma than Amsterdam. After Amsterdam infiltrates Cutting's ranks, the two adversaries behave like father and son. Amsterdam's "Hamlet" like indecision to kill Bill bogs down the action. Desperately, the writers turn up the heat in a contrived romantic subplot between DiCaprio's Amsterdam and Diaz's Jenny to compensate for their colorless hero.

Basically, "Gangs" resembles a Spaghetti western with its revenge story set east of the Mississippi River. Incidentally, Scorsese lensed this lavishly produced opus on the back lot of Rome's legendary Cinecitta Studios with 19th century New York City recreated at the cost of $110 million dollars. Ambitious, provocative, off-beat, but excessively long, "Gangs of New York ranks more as a triumph of set design and period detail, not overlooking Day-Lewis' exceptional, Oscar-worthy performance as the villain, than an exciting showdown between two titans.

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