Critic Reviews

76

Metascore

Based on 38 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
89
Crowe has rarely been better, and the same goes for director Scott, who parallels and then dovetails Lucas and Roberts' stories with sublime, gritty precision, working up to a magnificent "Godfather III"-style crosscutting sequence that electrifies an already explosive tale.
88
Rolling Stone
Call it the black "Scarface" or "the Harlem Godfather" or just one hell of an exciting movie.
80
The Hollywood Reporter
It's workmanlike and engrossing, but what sticks in the mind are Frank and Richie, not what anybody does.
80
Variety
Absorbing, exciting at times and undeniably entertaining, and is poised to be a major commercial hit. But great it's not.
80
The pace of the movie is rapid, almost hectic, the touch glancing. Until the confrontation between Frank and Richie at the end, nothing stays on the screen for long, although Scott, working in the street, or in clubs and at parties, packs as much as he can into the corners of shots, and shapes even the most casual scenes decisively.
80
Village Voice
As archetypal as its title, Ridley Scott's would-be epic aspires to enshrine Harlem dope king Frank Lucas in Hollywood heaven, heir to Scarface and the Godfather. Or, as suggested by the Mark Jacobson article on Lucas that inspired the movie, a real-life Superfly.
75
Like in "Training Day" and "Malcolm X," where he portrayed less than perfect individuals, Washington rules the screen. His portrayal is one of many things that elevates this film to the level of being consistently entertaining and occasionally compelling.
75
Meticulous and detailed, a drug-world epic that holds you from moment to moment, immersing you in the intricate and sleazy logistics of crime. Yet the movie isn't quite enthralling; it's more like the ghost version of a '70s classic.
75
Often best around the edges. Without making a big deal about it, Scott reveals how the Mafia, while putting up a businesslike front, deplored the incursion of black gangsters into the drug trade.
70
For all the sprawl, American Gangster feels secondhand. It’s like "Scarface" drained of blood, at arm’s length from the culture that spawned it.

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