Saturday, November 01, 2003

Gangs of New York

OK, I've just seen this sucker ~ it usually takes the best part of a month for these Hollywood blockbusters to make the leap from L.A. to a magic lantern house in the vicinity of Casa del ionesco: and I thought we were living in the digital age - same old, same old. Parochial Edinboro, Scotchland, I'm guessing, isn't high on Miramax's hitlist for opening weekend market penetration.

A few months back my assessment of this movie was:

"The DiCaprio factor chills me to the bone...

That and the fact that Marty's been locked away in an editing room since the late 20th century cutting this baby down to bite-sized blockbuster dimensions. Miramax head honcho Harv. Weinstein is rumoured to have "taken an active interest" in the final cut. This is not a good thing.

My best guess: after last year's African-American triple whammy of Halle, Denzil and Sidney expect the Academy to finally get around to patronising the woefully marginalized Italian-American community by awarding Marty a long overdue "Best Director" gong.

You can bet Gangs of New York will be no Raging Bull."

Now I've seen it my opinion is the same but with additions.

Di Caprio: bad move. A sop to the youth demographic. What was I saying about Art being compromised by Commerce? Scorsese is the ultimate cinematic artist but Diaz and Di Caprio were mistakes: bland, photogenic ciphers.

Worst scene? The scar-kissing fiasco. I'm ready to believe the callow putz Di Caprio is fresh outta the birth canal but a battle-scarred warrior?

Funniest moment? Bill da Butcher headbutting Leo half a dozen times and scarring him "beyond repair":

I want you to live in shame!

Bill, buddy, have a word with Leo's agent, willya? The biggest concession you're gonna get is:

My client is prepared to hang out in the shadows, vaguely angst-ridden, with Cameron Diaz for 5 minutes tops, baby. After that it's business as usual.

Photogenic scars barely visible to the human eye but enough to suggest character-forming catharsis. I thought we'd just gone into flashback the next time we saw Leo onscreen after the trauma. Nice work, makeup dept!

Having said that Daniel Day-Lewis sold out his Irish heritage magnificently as Bill da Butcher. A faultless impersonation of Bobby De Niro: method devouring method ~ quintessential post-modern movie magic.

True star of the film: Edinburgh's own Gazza McCormack as Bill's mute henchman. Gazza was offered a speaking part but refused to utter the line Die Hibernian scum. A true Celtic warrior.

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