Reviews of American Gangster, starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe, are split between love and hate. On the love side is Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times who awards it a four-star ranking. "This is an engrossing story, told smoothly and well," he writes. Likewise, Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal sums up: "It's a great big gangster film, and a good one." Claudia Puig in USA Today concludes that it "is probably the best gangster crime drama of the year." And Stephen Hunter in the Washington Post raves, "In American Gangster, time doesn't fly, it explodes." The thing is 2 1/2 hours long; it feels like 40 minutes. Whether it's the next great American crime movie or simply this year's professional stunner will be determined over the net few months." On the other hand, Jack Mathews in the New York Daily News says he likes the final 40 minutes of the movie, "but the film is 2 hours and 40 minutes long, and the runup, setup or whatever-up you want to call the first two hours is largely a drag." Jan Stuart in Newsday says "the film begins to show its flab about two-thirds in." Michael Sragow in the Baltimore Sun pronounces it an intriguing true story turned into "facile melodrama" and dismisses it as kind of "a cover version of a Scorsese, Coppola or De Palma movie." Which is apparently good enough for Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle who writes: "So it's not a classic. ... Instead, it can be classed as a respectable second-tier entry."




02/11/2007