Combustible Celluloid
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With: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, Daniel Day-Lewis, Jim Broadbent, John C. Reilly, Henry Thomas, Brendan Gleeson
Written by: Jay Cocks, Steven Zaillian, Kenneth Lonergan
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
MPAA Rating: R for intense strong violence, sexuality/nudity and language
Running Time: 167
Date: 12/09/2002

Gangs of New York (2002)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

'Gang' Clang

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Martin Scorsese's dream project finally explodes on the screen after years of planning and another year of delays. Leonardo DiCaprio plays the young man out to avenge his father (Liam Neeson) by joining the gang of his arch enemy (Daniel Day-Lewis). Cameron Diaz plays the ever-present girl. Deliberately drawing from silent melodramas and Italian neo-realism, the film goes way over the top in its storytelling, using grand gestures in place of subtlety.

It may look a lot more like Titanic than Raging Bull, but Scorsese thunders through the film with the passion of a mad conductor, coaxing, forcing, daring each scene to burst with life. Though Harvey Weinstein's meddling may have dimmed the project somewhat, Gangs of New York may still be the last of the great Hollywood epics, standing tall with films by Nicholas Ray, Anthony Mann and others.

Miramax has released a two-disc DVD set with lots of extras and a Scorsese commentary track. It's must-have.

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