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Gangs of New York

Director:  Martin Scorsese
Year Released:  2002
Rating:  1.5

Young streetwise kid (DiCaprio) loses pious but violent Father 1 (Liam Neeson) to non-Catholic, murderous Father 2 (Daniel Day-Lewis) - both opposite sides of the same coin, with Neeson's death haunting the rest of the picture (and Day-Lewis in particular) - then befriends Father 2, only to kill him for Woman 1 (Cameron Diaz), Woman 2 (New York's Five Points) and revenge. Three hours is a long time for a concept so lightweight - trimming wasn't out of order, and I wished it was even shorter - and Scorsese's previously subtle hints at religious redemption have been replaced by elephant-in-the-room obviousness - everyone's praying or speaking of the Almighty and a chunk of the shots are constructed around religious imagery (one of the more 'delicate' ones has Leo crying with his profile to the camera like in your classic Roman Catholic Confessional) - all of which reflects Marty's idea that this is super serious business. Then why he has Day-Lewis (as the Butcher) camping it up, Leo keeping it low-key and Cameron doing the wee-lass thing - all three in different registers - doesn't make sense; the whole film has more in common with West Side Story than anyone wants to admit.

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