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Gangs of New York

>Mature 17+ | 0 % Say It's Worth Your Time

Gangs of New York is a 2002 historical film set in the mid-19th century in the Five Points district of New York City. It was directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Jay Cocks, Steven Zaillian, and Kenneth Lonergan. The film was inspired by Herbert Asbury's 1928 nonfiction book, The Gangs of New York. It was made in Cinecittà, Rome, distributed by Miramax Films and nominated for numerous awards, including the Academy Award for Best Picture. The film begins in 1846 and quickly jumps to 1862. The two principal issues of the era in New York were Irish immigration to the city and the Federal government's execution of the ongoing Civil War. The story follows gang leader Bill "The Butcher" Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis) in his roles as crime boss and political kingmaker under the helm of "Boss" Tweed (Jim Broadbent). The film culminates in a violent confrontation between Cutting and his mob with the protagonist Amsterdam Vallon (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his immigrant allies, which coincides with the New York Draft Riots of 1863. In 1846, in Lower Manhattan's "Five Points" district, a territorial war raging for years between the "Natives" (comprising those born in the United States) and

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Genre: Drama

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  • (Male) Deseret News Critic

    No Maturity Rating | Worth Your Time

    The opening sequence of "Gangs of New York" contains more graphic gore and violence than it does actual dialogue. And it pretty much sums up everything that's wrong with the film — a long-delayed, even-longer-in-production epic from filmmaker Martin Scorsese. "Gangs of New York" is a film that suffers because of its many excesses. Also, the film is surprisingly unfocused and inconsistent. Stress "surprisingly," because not only does it come from Scorsese and include a top-notch cast, it also features contributions from two screenwriters — veterans Steve Zaillian and Kenneth Lonergan — who should have been able to help it find its focus. In fact, the wildly inconsistent tone even overshadows some of the film's better performances, including certain Oscar-nominee Daniel Day-Lewis. Though the title perhaps suggests a modern-day setting, "Gangs of New York" is actually a 19th-century tale, a heavily fictionalized account of the struggles to control New York during the Civil War. One person rising to power at the time is one William Cutting (Day-Lewis), better known as "Bill the Butcher" to the locals. He runs Native Americans, the dominant gang. Bill has already eliminated his strongest threat, the Irish immigrant gang the Dead Rabbits, which was run by Priest Vallon (Liam Neeson). But nearly two decades later, Priest's son (Leonardo DiCaprio) returns, looking for vengeance. Calling himself Amsterdam, the lad infiltrates the Native Americans and endears himself to Bill by showing surprising business acumen, as well as a willingness to learn about butchery from the best. But Amsterdam starts having doubts about the plan when Bill begins to look upon him as a surrogate son. The deciding factor may be Jenny Everdean (Cameron Diaz), a petty thief romanced by both men. To its credit, "Gangs" is at least as handsome-looking and vivid as it is wildly sprawling. But the ending feels particularly rushed, and Scorsese's direction is somewhat overindulgent. As Amsterdam, DiCaprio is not terrible. But he doesn't seem imposing, nor is he dynamic enough to hold his own with Day-Lewis, who returns from a five-year hiatus with one of his best-ever performances (one that nearly redeems the film all by itself). In support, Diaz is her usual charming self, while British actors Brendan Gleeson and Jim Broadbent both steal scenes as, respectively, an Irish politician and a corrupt community leader. "Gangs of New York" is rated R for graphic scenes of violence (stabbing, clubbings, brawling, gunfire and explosive mayhem), graphic gore, occasional use of strong sex-related profanity, racial epithets and ethnic slurs, female nudity, simulated sex and sexual contact, a scene of torture, crude sexual talk and brief drug use (opium). Running time: 160 minutes. E-MAIL: jeff@desnews.com


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Okfor ages12+