Gangs of New York

Once catching a good movie, I’ll typically watch it again within the next couple weeks. I’m just that crazy sometimes. Same goes with “Gangs of New York”(2002)(Running time: 2 hrs 30 min). Ah, an…amazing movie! The story centers around The Five Points in New York City during the Civil War, where Irishmen and Americans duke it out through the film. Although, that’s not the focal point of the film. The lead character is an Irish descendant called Amsterdam, who had witnessed his father’s murder when he was a boy by the leader of the American gang, Bill “The Butcher” Cutting. He seeks vengeance on plotting to kill Bill, but first being taken under his wing so he is trusted–but little does he know it that he begins to be feeling too comfortable with Bill and having second thoughts. The film stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, Jim Broadbent, Brenden Gleeson, with special guest appearance of Liam Neeson as Priest Valon (Amsterdam’s father).

(I probably didn’t do the movie’s plot justice right now, but in a few words: its an awesome movie!)

Probably the main thing noticable in this film is Daniel Day-Lewis’s (Bill Cutting) acting. Oh. my. goodness!!! I had merely heard of him before seeing the film because of his Best Actor award at the Oscars for “There Will Be Blood”. But in this film, Day-Lewis displays a performance that is utterly stunning. Especially during one scene (which I cannot go into that much depth without giving away the story), where he changes emotions like a steady light switch. I marvel at his talent! Apparently, during movie productions, Day-Lewis never gets out of character, his wife (a film director) admits. He is a very dedicated actor, I notice. The character of Bill Cutting is a very harsh one, but Daniel Day-Lewis pulls it all off and suavely places a cherry on top! Truly, this actor is gifted. His co-stars did a fairly good job as well, although I don’t believe their roles deserve great acclaim and praise. One reason would be that I’m not a fan of Leonardo DiCaprio or Cameron Diaz. But like I said: they do a reasonably good job. My opinions over either of them may change in the near or distant future…

Established filmmaker Martin Scorsese directs this epic. I’m not a huge fan of his work either. Though I’ve only seen a few of his works like “Raging Bull”, “The Aviator”, and now “Gangs of New York”, I don’t understand this “style” his fans keep complimenting him on. Is it the style of occasionally poorly-edited scenes or his odd choices of camera angles and acting of the characters?–I don’t understand it. Some of his shots and character development are more “classically” placed, and if that’s the style he was going for, I can respect it and notice it a little bit. But did he have to add a particularly strong curse word (or several more) or extra blood in those scenes?–I don’t think so, but that’s my personal preference. Nevertheless, he still paints a pretty accurate picture of how the gangs and politicians in New York City were back in the 1860s.

…but I still cannot get over Daniel’s acting. Oh man, oh man, oh man, oh man….if nothing else, you gotta see it for his part!

Gangs of New York received mainly positive reviews after its release and did modestly at the box office, just barely doubling the film’s budget of $97 million. It was also well-received at the Academy Awards, gaining nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor, and more! It failed to win any of these, though. I feel though that Daniel Day-Lewis should have won over Adrien Brody (his win was for “The Pianist”).

All in all, you must put this movie high up on your list for “must-see” films.

poster for the film


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January 2016 Update: This blog is under reconstruction. Please be patient while we gradually remove old material, posts, and pages, and create new ones. Thank you.
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3 Responses to Gangs of New York

  1. Zach S. says:

    Daniel Day Lewis is the greatest actor living today. Not exaggerating at all. His performance of Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood may be the greatest performance of all time.


  2. dante668 says:

    I’ve heard nothing but good thing about this movie, but need to give myself a kick in the butt and actually watch it. Don’t knock DiCaprio – he’s handily grown out of his pretty-boy years and he kicks all kind of dramatic butt in The Aviator and Shutter Island. I think he has a lot of potential.


    • vonhauer2 says:

      Potential, yes. Pretty-boy: he still is hanging onto it just a little bit, I believe. Yes, his performance in The Aviator is actually quite good, and also in Inception. But….well, its a long story how I feel about DiCaprio.


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