Harry here, God I want to see this film. The movie is like a dream production that has been going on for so long now that it just seems like it has been going on forever. When September 11th allegedly pushed it into next year, I was furious... We really needed a film like this in the last quarter of 2001. Something visceral and primal and unflinching. The film Scorsese has been dreaming of for decades. I can't wait to see that dream given form, he's never worked on this type of scale before... I can only imagine. Here's Estranged... way too lucky for his own good, who got in to see the flick, beware of SPOILERS...
Hey Harry, Estranged here. Long time reader first time writer love the site.
Earlier this evening I had the pleasure of being apart of the very first audience to see Gangs of New York or so they told me. Well I'm just going to get right into it. This film is unbelievable in its bluntness. The level of violence is astounding. It is a very straight forward film and it holds nothing back. But with all the violence aside this is truly a remarkable film. Another great triumph for Scoresesse. It succeeds in all areas. This review will have spoilers so back away now if you don't want to be spoiled.
The acting is top notch. Leonardo Dicaprio, who I think is pretty damn good actor but gets looked over, because of the pretty boy image, does an excellent job. He plays the role of Amsterdam Vallon with great passion and rage but with a sense of calmness.
Cameron Diaz also does a great job with her role. The chemistry between her and Leo is fantastic.
The person who really steals the show is Daniel Day-Lewis. He is absolutely phenomenal. Bill "The Butcher" Poole is such a man of honor. At times I didn't know whether to hate him or root for him. While I was in favor of Robert De Niro getting the role, Daniel makes up for it with damn near perfection. He brought such intensity and passion to the role that you savor every second he's on screen. He gives a very Oscar worthy performance.
And a notable mention goes to John C "People tell me I look like Han Solo" Reilly. Who does a wonderful job. He's a God Harry just like Don Cheadle and Luis Guzman. You gotta give it to him. He's fucking awesome.
The story is pretty good. It's the same old bad guy killed my father so I am vowing revenge type of story. But it works so well here. Priest Vallon, played by Liam Neeson, is Amsterdam's father. He gets killed in front of Amsterdam and sixteen years later he comes back to stake his revenge. And how does he do it? Well he joins up with The Butcher. Roams with his gang, becomes his right hand man. And just when you think he played it right old Bill finds out who he really is. As we see young Amsterdam take his revenge into action we can't help but feel sorry for him knowing that the one man who shouldn't know who he really is... knows. And well the poor boy gets his ass handed to him pretty bad. Now Bill spares him so he can live in shame because he can't be the same man as his father. Bill feels that it was an honor to kill the Priest. That "He was the only man I killed that is worth remembering." As Bill says in a great scene between him, Leo and an almost half naked Cameron Diaz as she lies underneath a blanket. That scene was wonderful as it gives great insight into The Butcher's mind which is evil and twisted but honorable. Leo recovers from his wounds as the film reaches a feverish climax during the 1863 draft riots. That's as much as I will spoil for ya.
The opening sequence sets the tone of the film. Which is if your stomach couldn't take that then get the fuck out cause that's the way it's gonna be. The violence makes you cringe but makes you want more. People being gutted legs being broken all the blood its something that some people might not want to see. Another thing for its bluntness is that gangs fighting here. There's a lot of racial violence going on and women being abused. Even pretty boy Leo gives Cameron a few slaps. A few older women were complaining about the violence and the nudity. But I hope the studio puts them on a "pay no mind" list. Some old hag was even complaining about the title. I mean the film is about GANGS that are in NEW YORK what the hell should the title be? It's not like its Attack of the Clones!! Which by the way I love that damn title so fuck all you whining fanboys.
On a final note this was a rough cut. Some of the sound was off and some of the music might have only been temp. While I didn't recognize any of the music I thought it worked fine with the film. I was also very surprised to see that the shot of the World Trade Center was still in the film. It's the last shot of the film. It's because the morph New York City through its years until modern times. It didn't bother me and I hope they keep it in the film as a remembrance. Because this is one of the very last films to feature them.