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Overall Rating
3.46

Awesome: 27.23%
Worth A Look28.17%
Just Average: 21.6%
Pretty Crappy: 9.39%
Sucks: 13.62%

9 reviews, 159 user ratings


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Gangs of New York
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by Natasha Theobald

"Never look away."
4 stars

Beneath our feet lie the roots of histories, the tales of ones who came before us. Their stories may be buried in time, but their struggles are static in the air of what was, once. The truth may not be pretty, but we owe it to them to never look away from it. We must stare it honestly in the face, truly see where it was we came from. If nothing else, maybe it gives some context to where we choose to go next. May the blood shed not be forgotten. May the pain of lost innocence resonate in our collective memory.

In the opening scenes of the film, the Dead Rabbits are preparing to fight the Natives for rights to the Five Points. A young boy watches his father (Liam Neeson) make plain what will happen in the streets. The blood, he is told, should never be removed from a knife. It signifies what must be remembered. As the boy marches alongside his father and his men in the darkness they face, he sees the power and strength that can be gained from determination and the courage of ones convictions. Then, the door is opened onto unmarked snow, pure white. Minutes later, the snow is dirty with blood and his father lays dead, slain by Bill the Butcher (Daniel Day-Lewis).

Sixteen years later, the boy, now a man, steps from a boat into the place he once knew. He is back for the father who could not raise him, and he wants revenge. But, time adds complexity to all things, it seems, and Bill the Butcher has gained power and pull with the people in the interim of his absence. Amsterdam (Leonardo DiCaprio) falls in with Bill's group and learns what it is that draws people to him, as he, himself, is drawn in. Amsterdam overcomes personal feelings he might have had for Bill had they led different lives and sets himself to the task of vengeance. The road he has chosen, though, is marked with pitfalls and pocked with the blood of brothers. In the end, there is no sweetness to be had by either man's victory. Any satisfaction is bought on the backs of those who have no names.

The most fascinating relationship in the movie is the one between Bill and Amsterdam. They share reverance for the boy's dead father. They share passion for leadership. They share faith in God and faith in what's right. They share an understanding about what it is to live in the time and place that is theirs to live in. They are father and son, mentor and student. They are both victims of circumstance, and they are both agents of their own mistakes. No one is wearing a black or white hat here, because life just isn't that easy and goodness and evil tend to coexist in any one man.

Day-Lewis creates a fascinating character in Bill. He has a charisma and a genuine charm that make hating him outright simply impossible. On the other hand, he also can be so menacing and inspiring of the deep, innate, most human fear within us that you cannot escape the part of him that is eerily part of all of us. Bill truly believes that he is a patriot and that love for his country and for New York inspires his deeds, evil or not. He truly believes that his actions are those of courage and conscience. He truly believes.

DiCaprio's character is motivated by years spent grieving and planning for payback. But, it's hard to hate what you recognize. It's hard to burn for the death of someone you respect despite yourself, someone you grow to see as a man, a friend, and a compatriot. Had the paths of these men not been sealed in the blood-soaked snow, they might have been able to connect on a human and real level. That their connection was heightened by passion and loss only created further tension and more intense regret. In this as in many stories, what might have been hangs heavily in the air of thought and emotion.

The look of the film itself is seemingly flawless. Everything about the way it looks is utterly breathtaking to behold. If you are not moved by the artistry and passion for detail, then you are not easily moved. Everything, it seems, was lovingly and painstakingly created with the weight of history hanging in the balance, and the pride and perseverance of the task and its execution are apparent in every way. If you take any pleasure in seeing a movie made well, you need to get yourself into a theater and let the vastness of it overwhelm you.

I feel fortunate to live in the time that Martin Scorsese is creating. His movies, for me, transcend simple entertainment or easy enlightenment. As the weight of history rests on this picture, the weight of the themes this director is willing to confront unabashedly weigh on our time and our place in history. I'm thankful for one who is willing to say it.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=6489&reviewer=317
originally posted: 01/11/03 10:58:44
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User Comments

9/27/17 Bents DDL and the setting are the show 4 stars
9/13/17 morris campbell epic 4 stars
3/02/13 Monday Morning Learn a bit about the history of the time (Irish Mobs) & you'll appreciate the film more. 4 stars
10/09/11 monkeybiscuit Overrated indulgence from an old director who is past his prime 3 stars
9/15/11 Clemdane Looks beautiful but has no compelling emotional center 3 stars
2/12/11 Quigley Day-Lewis gives one of the greatest performances in cinema history. Not to be missed. 5 stars
6/09/10 Serge Epic albeit overdone vision of New York's beginning 4 stars
6/08/10 Flathead King What a load of rubbish. 1 stars
4/24/10 art BILL the BUTCHER was AN ASSHOLE!,this film SUCK"S! 1 stars
3/01/10 SEBSEB Great film. The review must be an idiot if he doesnt know 'check' from 'cheque'! 5 stars
8/23/09 Jade Hellcat Maggie does have at least 1 line. She says something like "Just gimme a drink!" 3 stars
7/02/09 the dork knight Overwrought, hyper-realistic, leads nowhere. Only Daniel Day-Lewis seems to be trying!! 3 stars
4/19/09 Ron Ingrasin Masterpiece,even if somewhat historically incorrect 5 stars
10/26/08 TigerSlap Unintentionally funny - while being a small orgy of pointless violence... 1 stars
9/02/08 Shaun Wallner Interesting storyline. 3 stars
8/16/08 ROB best Scorcese film ever 5 stars
6/16/08 Marvin Very ordinary and a waste of time 1 stars
5/14/08 PAUL SHORTT DONT SEE IT! 1 stars
4/14/08 JT Unbelievably good. Most epic movie ever. Awesome Western/mob movie combination 5 stars
2/08/08 mb It wasn't worth watching and was really stupid really. 2 stars
10/24/07 Ivana Mann Is Scorcese trying to be Spielberg?& Diaz is unintentionally hilarous, esp. w/ Irish accent 2 stars
10/16/07 Jimmy One of the best soundtracks Ive ever heard but besides that it was overly violent/sexual 2 stars
12/04/06 Stanley Thai One of the best films of the year. Great movie! 5 stars
8/26/06 stu i'll never forget this film... 5 stars
8/23/06 Agent Sands Scorsese is so amazing that he's made me riveted by a subject that I've little interest in. 5 stars
6/24/06 great loved it 5 stars
5/14/06 Simon y'know i used to like this movie alright, but really... it IS surprisingly shallow... 3 stars
3/27/06 Indrid Cold Mildly interesting, but really just a mediocre western that happens to be set in NYC. 3 stars
2/26/06 chean its great 5 stars
1/07/06 gerry dunne like many Scorsese movies - way below expectations 1 stars
11/29/05 tatum Historically inaccurate, but Day-Lewis is hilarious...oh, he wasn't supposed to be? 2 stars
10/15/05 Moctezuma A good, though, not great, Scorsese picture 5 stars
10/10/05 Wisamane They worked extremly hard to get the 1880's look, Incredible movie, cast and plot!!! 5 stars
9/04/05 R.W. Welch A shade overdrawn but a good yarn about a little known era. 4 stars
9/03/05 sweetgrrl1972 About 1/2 way through when DiCaprio DOESN'T die, I was bitterly bitterly disappointed. 1 stars
8/29/05 LS Galvin Definitely worth a watch - Day-Lewis is incredible! 4 stars
8/12/05 ES Ug say 'Lewis great, Leo stinky= movie ok' 3 stars
6/24/05 Mr Fluffy Day Lewis' 'tache lost out on Oscar night. And so did that magnificent top hat. 4 stars
6/19/05 Titus Uh . . . I don't get it. This was really pretty dumb. Waste of time. 2 stars
6/12/05 Agent Sands It's good, but not up to Scorsese par. 4 stars
4/21/05 pym day lewis is absolutely amazing. very good film but not scorcese's best 5 stars
4/16/05 buic very underrated film. perhaps the best movie ever made.... 5 stars
4/01/05 Cynthia Willingham Great film. Very well done all the way around 5 stars
2/18/05 susee wat the fuc the ending says 2 stars
2/16/05 Daveman Fabulous sets and some impressive performances (even from Leo), not much fun to sit through 3 stars
2/11/05 roy all i can say is wow. 5 stars
1/29/05 Bob Barton Great film...Scorsese should have won Best Director Oscar for this one. 5 stars
11/17/04 Theman987 Great 5 stars
10/23/04 UMER day-lewis deserved an oscar and the movie rocks 5 stars
10/15/04 Taylor Fladgate DiCaprio as an Irish gang leader? OOO, I'm scared! 1 stars
10/14/04 MARZ AWESOME. A LITTLE TO VIOLENT 5 stars
9/25/04 Tor Honolulu How can you not respect Marty's pet project? Danny & Leo do not disappoint 5 stars
8/27/04 Steve Newman Thoroughly enjoyable even overhere in the UK 4 stars
8/23/04 Naka Flawed, muddled, but a fully enjoyable run. 4 stars
8/09/04 kyotomatt People need to stop thinking boring=deep. WAKE UP! 1 stars
8/08/04 rory biggest oscar snub ever 5 stars
8/06/04 ELI um....What was so great about this movie? I hated all the characters! 2 stars
7/18/04 assassin_chick Emotionally charged--a lot is based on true history. We could learn something here. 5 stars
6/25/04 Karen Stockdale Lewis overacts wonderfully and the scenery and fight sequences are incredible 4 stars
6/22/04 Daveman Convoluted and confused, but I'll be damned if there aren't some powerful moments here. 4 stars
6/08/04 horny guy AMAZING! 5 stars
5/18/04 rich do not miss this film. very touching indeed 5 stars
5/04/04 Whatevr A bit of overacting, but most certainly watchable 4 stars
3/23/04 Bikramjit Best movie of 2002 5 stars
3/06/04 zaw very good movie 5 stars
2/15/04 homer holy shit, it was long but it was one outstanding piece of work 5 stars
2/12/04 Chris terrible terrible 1 stars
2/11/04 Shams Huque Daniel Day-Lewis is incredibel! 5 stars
1/30/04 Ultron Daniel Day-Lewis is tremendous. 5 stars
1/20/04 will I agree with eric and erik - and also, diaz sucked hard 3 stars
1/15/04 gloria intersting movie,daniel day lewis is great 4 stars
1/02/04 A F Leo sucks. It needed a better cast. 4 stars
12/23/03 Joel W. De Sario I would rather take a beating then suffer through this mess again. 2 stars
12/04/03 reptilesni ZzzzzzzzzZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzz 1 stars
11/14/03 Ultron Give praise to Daniel Day-Lewis for one of the all time great performances 5 stars
10/11/03 Jinnvisible Scorsese`s use of narrative to fill script and screenplay holes brings antique cinema feel 4 stars
10/09/03 Erik Van Sant Day-Lewis is a fucking force of nature. Too bad the movie can't handle it. CGI elephant. 3 stars
9/27/03 Alan First good DeCrapio role since "...Gilbert Grape." Maybe I should spell his name correctly. 4 stars
9/03/03 Gray "America was born in the streets"? horseshit!!!! maybe NY :) but not America 2 stars
8/14/03 WD40 Excellent! Especially Daniel Day-lewis 5 stars
8/07/03 guisada not impressed 3 stars
7/20/03 I Would Overblown, but worth a look for its beautiful art direction and costumes. 4 stars
7/17/03 EZE the wet dream of violent but epic masterpieces, good supporting actors too 5 stars
7/15/03 123 HOLLZ GREAT REALLY VIOLENT 5 stars
7/11/03 NBCraftsman Early America portrayed with the grandeur (&) spectacle of Fellini (see: Dante Ferretti) 4 stars
7/11/03 glad i saw it! wow great film so inspiring 5 stars
7/10/03 malcolm sweet land of liberty 4 stars
7/08/03 turbocharge Other than a misplaced Cameron Diaz whose character wasn't necessary, this was a great film 4 stars
7/07/03 JC like a braveheart for the civil war, and Dicaprio has finally grown up as an actor 5 stars
7/03/03 oey rome huh? 2 stars
6/12/03 owen barty wonderfull intelligent film 5 stars
6/07/03 MEGAN RAFFLE LEO WAS HOT.........GREAT MOVIE AS WELL 5 stars
6/06/03 amazing 1 word.....wow 5 stars
6/04/03 Elizaveta Its okay overall, but Daniel Day Lewis makes a great villain! 4 stars
5/23/03 Ryan F. Not Martins best by any means, but this IS a great movie. And Jesus Christ its bloody! 5 stars
5/16/03 beach *cough* what can i say cept plz dun make me go thru it again(IM BACK MISS ME??) 1 stars
5/16/03 Jareth Good film. You really do get the feeling you're in 19th Century New York 4 stars
5/13/03 Mr. Hat (I'm Back Mo'Fos!!!) Overrated, even though it's OK. Lots of blood. Not among Scorsese's best, though. 4 stars
5/11/03 Jack Bourbon I'm sorry, but this was complete SHIT. It has the stupidest characters since UHF. 1 stars
5/07/03 Danielle Bryant Great 5 stars
5/03/03 123 playa pretty hot movie 5 stars
5/01/03 Valerie Cameron Overlong; some commanding moments; overall seems more sensational than convincing. 3 stars
4/24/03 Fran I hade to stop myself from hurl;ing at the crapness severeal times 1 stars
4/23/03 PLEASEBEQUIET one word to describe this movie-SHIT!SHIT!SHIT!SHIT!SHIT!SHIT!SHIT!SHIT!SHIT!SHIT!SHIT!SHIT 1 stars
4/23/03 GoldieHawn Im goldie hawn and i thought gangs of new york was horrible cameron and leo shouldnever act 1 stars
4/19/03 Dillon The "Matrix" set do not have opinions that matter. This is a great movie! 5 stars
4/15/03 JoE_fOr_PrEsIdEnT Wow what a hunk of junk. How can u say it is good havent u seen all the mistakes!PHEW! 1 stars
4/14/03 Francis I agree with Paquin's review, but it was still entertaining 4 stars
4/13/03 OrLaNdO_LoVeS_FrAn_4eVa What a piece of crap!Characters dull!Directing atrocious!!Please do not bother! 1 stars
4/09/03 Ross Bernard For once, Paquin's review is fairly accurate. This movie blew. 2 stars
4/07/03 y2mckay Like most of Scorcese's films - overlong, overedited, and gimmicky - but watchable. 4 stars
4/04/03 Jack Bourbon STINKBOMB! Stupid, stupid, stupid characters. Fuck 'em, they deserved death. 2 stars
3/22/03 sicologus It is just magistral. Day-Lewis, you´re the one 5 stars
3/21/03 GMan One of Scorscese's best, despite DiCrapio. Long live Day-Lewis. And Brian, learn to spell. 5 stars
3/19/03 Shadaan Felfeli Mediocre .Go watch the Pianist instead ! 3 stars
3/19/03 Andrew Carden Good Performance By Diaz Cannot Save This Silly, Contrived, and Boring Flick. 2 stars
3/19/03 Debbie This movie sucks DICK! 1 stars
3/17/03 Valerie Cameron Overlong; some commanding moments; overall seems more sensational than convincing. 3 stars
3/14/03 Angolmois Goodfellas-Lite... Except we also have to endure Diaz and DiCaprio's hamming... 1 stars
3/12/03 Stanleycup35 Unbelieveable. Probably the best movie I"ve ever seen 5 stars
3/12/03 Valerie Cameron Overlong; some commanding moments; overall seems more sensational than convincing. 3 stars
3/01/03 King of Swords Not Marty's best but certainly watchable. Atanu is a big baby 4 stars
2/26/03 atanu yeah...an epic like britney spears is a 'diva'. grow up. 2 stars
2/25/03 James Renwick Just goes to show that average film making produces average films. 3 stars
2/24/03 meatgrinder mark bill the butcher is my hero- great fellow. ( francis dolarhyde is still no.1, though ) 5 stars
2/22/03 John Bale Stephen King meets Gone with the Wind. Bloody ! 4 stars
2/19/03 catatafish started great, ended abysmally - it seemed like they were running low on script 1 stars
2/13/03 wetware Could've been great editing lousy in parts good costumes DDL was good 3 stars
2/12/03 mattski mish mash which never really knows where it is heading 3 stars
2/10/03 Ultron The best(and most underrated film) of the year 5 stars
2/10/03 LaNeal Nelson it was wonderfuly done good some things were not really placed by historicaly evented, 4 stars
2/06/03 Goofy Maxwell 'GoNY' is not a NY Hist. Society or Tourism Board production. But it's sho nuff Scorsese. 5 stars
2/05/03 123 if this movie is ever worthy for an award, it is the most violent movie of the year 4 stars
1/26/03 Tobias Klevang Conventional and rather unpersonal for being Scorsese, still a very good film 4 stars
1/21/03 Bobby Peru Best Film of 2002-Bold, Big, Brilliant! 5 stars
1/14/03 thejames Leo is fucking great. Pretty good but not amazing. one of the better movies ive seen recent 4 stars
1/12/03 kosta dicrapio ate ass 1 stars
1/12/03 jesse williams i walked out....granted i snuck in...but i never do that 1 stars
1/11/03 David A. Tries to romanticize crime. Let's face it--street gangs are low class, illiterate scum. 3 stars
1/04/03 George Jung This movie had Daniel-Day Lewis, violence and tits...and the movie was still weak. 3 stars
12/31/02 Jesse the Movie Ventura Day Lewis holds this film in his fist. Waiting for two years and wasnt that good. 3 stars
12/31/02 STEVE GIVE DANIEL-DAY LEWIS AND THIS FILM THERE OSCARS NOW!BEST OF 2002 5 stars
12/31/02 F-Dog Best movie of the year. 5 stars
12/29/02 artemishia Pretty good but way too long. i was ready to leave the 1st hour 3 stars
12/29/02 Jiz Boring. 3 stars
12/29/02 Terry M. Last hour by far makes up for the love story, fucking awesome action sequences 5 stars
12/28/02 Tony Starks Daniel Day plays one of the bests villians in awhile!! 4 stars
12/27/02 Ashley Better than I thought it was going to be. Actually thought provoking at times. 4 stars
12/27/02 Terry M. Underrated 5 stars
12/26/02 ATG Overrated 3 stars
12/26/02 Jesse the Movie Ventura Scorsese's worst:-( Daniel Day-Lewis carries this film in his fist. 3 stars
12/26/02 snowconehead Mediocre acting from all but two, Daniel Day Lewis carried the entire 3 hours 5 stars
12/26/02 bob leather jacket high calibur 5 stars
12/23/02 Film Dude Not bad, but takes way too fucking long to get where it was going. 4 stars
12/22/02 Edler DD Lewis saves the film from the craphouse. The story is out of control. Absurd/Bizarre. 3 stars
12/22/02 Obi Wan Wow! Daniel Day @ his Best. . .Def one of the year's best!!! 5 stars
12/21/02 Terry M. easily one of the finest films to come out this year. stunning work from scorsese. 5 stars
12/21/02 Gary Great scenes, Cameron Diaz deserves best supporting actress!!!! 4 stars
12/20/02 Todd Lewis is the saving grace of an otherwise predictable film 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  20-Dec-2002 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  13-Feb-2003




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