Gangs of New York (2002)
January 13, 2023 7:29 AM - Subscribe

Amsterdam Vallon (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a young Irish immigrant released from prison. He returns to the Five Points seeking revenge against his father's killer, William Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis), a powerful anti-immigrant gang leader. He knows that revenge can only be attained by infiltrating Cutting's inner circle. Amsterdam's journey becomes a fight for personal survival and to find a place for the Irish people in 1860's New York.

Also starring Cameron Diaz, Jim Broadbent, John C. Reilly, Henry Thomas, Liam Neeson, Brendan Gleeson, Gary Lewis, Stephen Graham, Eddie Marsan, Alec McCowen, David Hemmings.

Directed by Martin Scorsese. Screenplay by Jay Cocks, Steven Zaillian, Kenneth Lonergan. Story by Jay Cocks. Based on The Gangs of New York by Herbert Asbury. Music by Howard Shore.

72% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently streaming in the US on Starz. Also available for digital rental. JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown (10 comments total)
This is a movie I want to enjoy more than I did. It's hard to pinpoint what it is, because it's a beautiful film with a lot of talented actors. Day-Lewis' Bloody Bill is fantastic, imposing, and frightful, and perhaps too much so, as the other actors, no matter how strong, just can't balance that out and the film doesn't find a way to balance it out elsewhere.
posted by Atreides at 8:48 AM on January 13, 2023 [2 favorites]

Saw it when it first came out and I was ... impressed... with the viscerality of the blood and maiming. Also the improvised armour.

Also, the pig scene "This is a kill. This is a kill..."

Though, I do still get this mixed up with 'There Will Be Blood' in my head.
posted by porpoise at 9:07 AM on January 13, 2023 [1 favorite]

I so hate this movie. It’s probably the film that finally drove me away from Scorsese. Not that that was a long drive by then. Yes, it’s beautifully shot, and the actors are great. But, honestly, to me it just boils down to violence porn.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:21 PM on January 13, 2023 [2 favorites]

I just have to link this: moustache

Agree with Thorzdad, it doesn't excite my curiosity about that bit of history, and I don't want to rewatch it at all.
posted by winesong at 12:49 PM on January 13, 2023

I loved this when it came out, but I tried watching recently and so much of it felt... corny. Cameron Diaz in particular seemed woefully miscast and not at all a part of the world. DDL is great, of course. But he's still no Daniel Darn Tootin.
posted by Saxon Kane at 2:12 PM on January 13, 2023 [2 favorites]

Though, I do still get this mixed up with 'There Will Be Blood' in my head.

I’ve always thought that someone realized that by far the best moments of The Gangs of New York were when DDL was onscreen so let’s make a movie of just those.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:47 AM on January 14, 2023 [1 favorite]

Like some others have said, Gangs of New York impressed me at the time, enough that I read the book it draws from (which is more of an encyclopedia, with little to no narrative), but on repeat viewings it gets less and less interesting. DDL is amazing, obviously, but I can't think of anything other reason to recommend the film.
posted by abraxasaxarba at 3:58 PM on January 14, 2023

I remember two things mainly from seeing this in the theaters. One was that the whole thing was violence porn and I didn’t much care for it. The other was the scene at the very end showing the skyline of Manhattan morphing as a timeline from the setting of the film to “present day.” You should recall this was 2002 so we saw the twin towers go up, then some modifications from the 80s, the 90s and… You could feel the tension in the audience wondering if they were going to take the timeline to the very last step. (As it happens, no, the slideshow stopped before fall 2001).
posted by Karmakaze at 3:59 PM on January 14, 2023 [2 favorites]

I saw this in the theater at the time, as it had a huge buzz, due to Scorsese and Day-Lewis. Even over 20 years later, I don't have any desire to see it again. Daniel Day-Lewis is remarkable, but he overwhelms almost everybody else in the cast, if memory serves. The last half hour or so could have been cut. And the last bit with the skyline felt manipulative and obvious.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 5:19 PM on January 14, 2023 [3 favorites]

MetaFilter: honestly, to me it just boils down to violence porn.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:35 AM on January 15, 2023 [1 favorite]

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