Scorsese's flawed but rich and powerful epic recounts the mid-19th Century struggles in New York's Five Points section between the Irish immigrant gang the Dead Rabbits and the second-generation nativist gangs led by the brutal but mesmerizing Bill the Butcher (Day-Lewis). Young Amsterdam Vallon (DeCaprio) witnesses the death of his father (Neeson), the leader of the Rabbits, in a bloody street melee and is sent away. When he returns, unrecognized, he insinuates himself into Bill's inner circle, waiting for his chance at vengeance and catching the eye of pickpocket Jenny (Diaz). This plot is set against the backdrop of the political corruption of "Boss" Tweed's New York empire and the draft riots that were tearing the city apart at the time. Scorsese's vision is realized through meticulous attention to period detail, a standout performance by Day-Lewis, and the willingness to show hero and villain alike as well-rounded characters. Uneven pacing and underuse (probably out of necessity) of excellent supporting cast are the only complaints. Loosely based on the 1928 book by Herbert Asbury.
Buena Vista Home Entertainment, 500 S. Buena Vista St., Burbank, CA 91521-1120, Toll-free: 800-723-4763, URL: http://www.bvhe.com
Available on VHS, DVD
Running time 168 minutes.
Originally from United States.
British Acad. 2002: Actor (Day-Lewis); Golden Globes 2003: Director (Scorsese), Song ("The Hands That Built America"); L.A. Film Critics 2002: Actor (Day-Lewis); N.Y. Film Critics 2002: Actor (Day-Lewis); Screen Actors Guild 2002: Actor (Day-Lewis).
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