Gangs of New York

I have indulged myself yet again by watching Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York. Now there’s a movie to get you talking!

I find each time I watch it I am discovering the film at a different level than the last time I viewed it (exhausting as the exercise is). While formally a historical drama -- set during the US Civil War -- it sure is a long way from Gone with the Wind!
This aint no potboiler but a tale whose drama is embedded in the political conditions we face today. In fact, Gangs of New York is more relevant now than when it was released in 2002. In the context of the present immigrant rights protests in the United States the stature of the film as a contemporary statement seems to rise by the minute.

Can you watch it and not think of Bush’s Amerika?But even, I guess, when the storytelling becomes so familiar that I’ll be able to recite the dialogue in sync with the actors, I doubt there will be anything that will detract the marvel I feel at Daniel Day Lewis’ performance as Bill "the Butcher" Cutting. It’s so good that you tend to forget his other roles as Hawkeye in The Last of the Mohicans, in My Left Foot, and My Beautiful Laundrette.

But Gangs of New York is a movie that has a scale and thoughtfulness that makes it even exceptional by Hollywood standards and perhaps suits the central role Day Lewis has in the epic.

So do yourself a favour-- get Gangs of New York out and watch it. Then experience how embedded this tale is in our present everyday.

Not just a good movie, but I consider it, contrary to so many critics at the time of its release, to be a masterpiece.

PS: My DVD has some great background on the actual events so be sure to check out the story of Draft Riots of the time.