Gangs of New York

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Gangs of New York ★★★ 2002 (R)

Scorsese's flawed but rich and powerful epic recounts the mid-19th Century struggles in New York's Five Points section between the Irish immigrant gang the Dead Rabbits and the secondgeneration nativist gangs led by the brutal but mesmerizing Bill the Butcher (Day-Lewis). Young Amsterdam Vallon (DeCaprio) witnesses the death of his father (Neeson), the leader of the Rabbits, in a bloody street melee and is sent away. When he returns, unrecognized, he insinuates himself into Bill's inner circle, waiting for his chance at vengeance and catching the eye of pickpocket Jenny (Diaz). This plot is set against the backdrop of the political corruption of “Boss” Tweed's New York empire and the draft riots that were tearing the city apart at the time. Scorsese's vision is realized through meticulous attention to period detail, a standout performance by Day-Lewis, and the willingness to show hero and villain alike as wellrounded characters. Uneven pacing and underuse (probably out of necessity) of excellent supporting cast are the only complaints. Loosely based on the 1928 book by Herbert Asbury. 168m/C VHS, DVD . US Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis, Cameron Diaz, Liam Neeson, Jim Broadbent, John C. Reilly, Henry Thomas, Brendan Gleeson, Gary Lewis, Stephen Graham, Eddie Marsan, Alec McCowen, David Hemmings, Larry (Lawrence) Gilliard Jr., Cara Seymour, Roger Ashton-Griffiths, Cian McCormack; Cameos: Martin Scorsese; D: Martin Scorsese; W: Jay Cocks, Steven Zaillian, Kenneth Lonergan; C: Michael Ballhaus; M: Howard Shore. British Acad. ‘02: Actor (Day-Lewis); Golden Globes ‘03: Director (Scorsese), Song (“The Hands That Built America”); L.A. Film Critics ‘02: Actor (Day-Lewis); N.Y. Film Critics ‘02: Actor (Day-Lewis); Screen Actors Guild ‘02: Actor (Day-Lewis).