Armed men hijack a New York City subway train, holding the passengers hostage in return for a ransom, and turning an ordinary day's work for dispatcher Walter Garber into a face-off with the mastermind behind the crime.
Following the death of his employer and mentor, Bumpy Johnson, Frank Lucas establishes himself as the number one importer of heroin in the Harlem district of Manhattan. He does so by buying heroin directly from the source in South East Asia and he comes up with a unique way of importing the drugs into the United States. As a result, his product is superior to what is currently available on the street and his prices are lower. His alliance with the New York Mafia ensures his position. It is also the story of a dedicated and honest policeman, Richie Roberts, who heads up a joint narcotics task force with the Federal government. Based on a true story. Written by
Antoine Fuqua was originally set to direct this project in 2004 with Denzel Washington and Benicio Del Toro starring, but production was halted one month before shooting after Universal Pictures canceled the film over budget concerns. However, Washington and Del Toro received their salaries nonetheless. A pay-or-play deal was stipulated in both of their contracts that Universal would pay Washington $20 million and Del Toro $5 million regardless of whether the film was made or not. Once this project was green-lit by Universal a second time, under Ridley Scott's direction, Washington returned to the project without an upfront fee. He also received half of his $20 million salary for the previous year's Inside Man (2006), another Imagine Entertainment production. See more »
Night time shots clearly show streets lit with high pressure sodium lamps that give a warm red/orange glow. These were not introduced until the mid 1980's. See more »
Watch American Gangster without preconceived ideas. While the film is long it never drags. You don't get the sense that you've seen this movie before. It's not Serpico. It's not The Wire. It's not The Sopranos. While much is going on, the story is easy to follow. There is action, but this isn't an "action movie".
Both Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe act convincingly and give depth to their characters.
The film leaves you wanting to know more about about happened to the lead characters. You care about them that much. Now *that's* film making.
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