The streets unveil in the year 1846 in Five Points Manhattan. The Native Americans led by Bill “The Butcher” Cutting (Daniel Day Lewis) go head to head with the immigrant communities led by Priest Vallon (Liam Neeson) of the Dead Rabbit Gang. Priest Vallon is butchered at the hands of the butcher (Pardon the Pun) driving all those led by the priest into the streets of Five Points whilst victory lay at the hands of the native Americans. Scorsese does not waste time and leaps forward 16 years and right to the year of the New York City Draft Riots in 1863. Priest Vallons son Amsterdam Vallon (Leonardo DiCaprio) returns back to Five Points to avenge his fathers’ death. Amsterdam returns only to find out that Bill is now the largest crime boss of the Five Points and is also a very influential personality in the corrupt New York political arena.
2 times Oscar winner Daniel Day Lewis is phenomenal to watch. There isn’t a moment where Lewis loses his character. Nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor Daniel Day Lewis lost to Adrian Brody (Brodys Performance was absolutely the more deserved one) at the 75th annual academy awards. Whilst Leonardo DiCaprio is one of Martin Scorsese’s common go to actors (much like Robert DeNiro from the 70s & 80s) he is not able to hold a candle to Lewis’s performance. DiCaprio in his own is magical and does not falter however he does seem to be too fragile to step into Liam Neesons shoes!
GANGS OF NEWYORK which was shot entirely offshore. Filmed in Cinecitta Rome; the home of Italian cinema the set of the movie is indeed the real deal. Recreating New York of the 1800’s indeed is a challenging task. What I like about Scorsese is that he has true passion of the movies he makes. Whilst the set of the movie could have easily been done entirely on CGI (the technology did exist at the time; Ridley Scott used it in Gladiator) Scorsese stuck to the basics and went completely old school. Initially set to be made in 1978 Scorsese could not see this through since the studios were reluctant to invest on such a great scale movie at the time. 24 years later he still made the movie and that says a lot about the man and also why the movie is such an entertaining extravaganza.
Inspired by the nonfiction book The Gangs of New York by Herbert Asbury the historical motion picture GANGS OF NEWYORK starring Leonardo DiCaprio & Daniel Day Lewis is an outright all time success. Whilst the argument of, if it will or will not be considered a classic with time to come is yet unresolved this super production by Martin Scorsese is a must watch. Engrossed with values of history of the American Streets and its inception and the story behind what is considered to be the greatest city on earth GANGS OF NEWYORK is indeed a Blu Ray worth owning if you are fan of the genre; History.
167 minutes of tyranny, treachery, malice and vehemence is GANGS OF NEWYORK in a nutshell. The fact that the screenplay is inspired based on historical events makes it even more submissive to the audience. Whilst I am no New Yorker and if you the reader are a New Yorker, the battle fought and the journey travelled since 1863 is indeed a memory to be proud of and theme Scorsese is not missing at any minute. The movie is about the people who built New York and Martin Scorsese could not have said it better.
TITLE: GANGS OF NEWYORK
DIRECTED BY: MARTINS SCORSESE
STARRING:LEONARDO DICAPRIO, DANIEL DAY-LEWIS, CAMERON DIAZ, BRENDAN GLEESON, JIM BROADBEN, JOHN.C.REILLY, HENRY THOMAS & LIAM NEESON