“The man I worked for had one of the biggest companies in New York City. He didn’t own his own company. White man owned it, so they owned him. Nobody owns me, though,” explains Frank Lucas, officially cementing his place as one hell of an on-screen villain in American Gangster. Frank Lucas, played by a fiery Denzel Washington, is a 1970’s drug dealer who smuggles extremely potent heroin into the U.S. from Thailand, often by using the caskets of dead Vietnam soldiers to ensure a safe delivery. He supplies all of Harlem with his “Blue Magic,” while gracefully rising through the power ranks of New York by gaining the support of family, friends, junkies, and crooked cops. Of the very few straight cops determined to take Lucas down, we meet Richie Roberts, played by a magnetic Russel Crowe. Not since 12 years ago in the thriller “Virtuosity” have Crowe and Denzel proved to be such an enigmatic screen team. But once again, they affirm their presence as an intense duo, so captivating that it seems nearly impossible for audiences to be disappointed with this remarkable crime drama.
Directed by Riley Scott, the man who brought us Gladiator and Hannibal, this is a film that will surely claim a prime location on the DVD shelf right next to similarly gripping films like The Godfather and Scarface. There is never a minute when you’re bored or unmoved; every scene sparks with pure action-packed electricity. The picture takes you through a seductive world of drugs and crime that will only leave you wanting more. I sat on the edge of my chair the whole time, in awe of a simply flawless film that has already earned itself a fair amount of Oscar buzz. With any indication, this film is definitely worth seeing ASAP. Whether it is drugs or cinema satisfaction, American Gangster will surely deliver.