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Gangs of New York

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Went with my mom.

Just right off the bat, very Scorsese, very violent, and fairly graphic about it.

The setting is in New York City, in a neighborhood/borough(?) called Five Corners, near the time of the Civil War.  He portrays a very gang-oriented culture, with vendettas, back-stabbing, and rampant corruption.  And of course that leads to incredible violence.  The gang leaders basically control the local law enforcement, and the politicians work hand-in-hand with the leaders for votes and the illusion of social harmony.

Some people don't like Cameron Diaz and some others don't like Leonardo.  I'm fine with both.  But I'm not sure they were quite right for these roles.  Both of them have a demeanor that lends itself well to light-hearted roles.  But these roles were pretty heavy, albeit with a little bit of comic relief.

Leonardo plays a kid who sees his dad killed in a gang fight and comes back to seek vengence on Daniel Day-Lewis, one of the chiefs.  DiCaprio gets in his good graces and pretends to join the gang.  Day-Lewis plays a particularly vicious character.

DiCaprio and Diaz dance around for a long time trying to decide if they're going to be love interests.  Somehow that seemed to go on a bit long, and was a bit convoluted.   I suppose part of that was just the culture of the times.

Near the end of the movie, during the elections if I remember rightly, riots break out all over town.  And the US Navy actually bombards the area with cannon fire from the harbor.  Jean tells me that actually happened.

Like many Scorsese movies, the characters in this story settle many of their problems with violence.  A particularly wicked existence.  I can't really imagine actually living with that all the time.

On my brother's Total Movie Value Scale, Matinee.  Very Scorsese, in that it portrays a very violent culture.  Well done, but I don't know how accurate it is.


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