OverviewSet in 1960s Harlem, "American Gangster" shines as a pivotal tale between a struggling narcotics detective, Richie Roberts, and a powerful heroin dealer, Frank Lucas. Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. Apart from the detail that he was a heroin dealer, Frank Lucas' career would be an ideal case study for a business school.
Lucas is played by Denzel Washington in another one of those performances where he is affable and smooth on the outside, yet ruthless enough to set an enemy on fire. Set in the 70's and based on a real life character, played by Denzel Washington, named Frank Lucas, he goes toe to toe with his "heavyweight opponent", Ritchie Roberts, a police officer and lawyer played by Russel Crowe.
The story was not only intriguing because it was based on a real life character, but it dived deep into this grey area, where bad guys have a good side and good guys have a bad side. This Frank Lucas character in real life was a bizarrely extraordinarily character that few ever heard of. The meal I will be preparing for this "Dinner and a Movie", is the actual meal I spontaneously prepared when I was watching this movie.
For some strange reason I find myself liking Denzel's movies where he dives into these "dark" characters, instead of his "well liked, easily digestible" Hollywood characters. After his mentor brutally dies, Frank looks for a more profitable way to sell heroin, rather than playing the mob's games of payoffs at every turn.
Here's a detail: As the man goes up in flames, Frank shoots him to put him out of his agony.
You will receive a weekly newsletter full of movie-related tidbits, articles, trailers, even the occasional streamable movie. He figured out a way to cut out the Mafia to buy his drugs wholesale straight from the source, and thus control the entire New Your drug game.
I guess opposites attract, because with the integrate complexities of this movie, I wanted to make something simple and straight forward, because I was totally focused on the plot while cooking, and didn't lose track of what was going on in the movie with a complicated recipe.

I suppose it resonates with me because even us "good guys" have a "dark side" that has to be explored. Cutting out the middle man, Frank strategically buys his product directly from an overseas supplier.
Inheriting a crime empire from his famous boss Bumpy Johnson, he cornered the New York drug trade with admirable capitalist strategies.
He supposedly accumulated an unbelievably huge sum of wealth, with offshore bank accounts, shadow companies and all the rest.Now one will ever know for sure, but it has been reported that his financial empire could have been around $500,000,000 in today's money. With cheap product and high profit margins consistently flowing into the city, Frank flourishes financially and invests heavily in nightclubs. He personally flew to Southeast Asia to buy his product directly from the suppliers, used an ingenious importing scheme to get it into the United States, and sold it at higher purity and lower cost than anyone else was able to. His stubborn antagonist in the picture is a police detective named Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe), who gets a very bad reputation in the department.
Whisk lemon juice, honey, olive oil, garlic, and oregano together in a bowl and pour the mixture over chicken breasts.
With Richie Roberts on the case, Frank must watch every step he makes to secure his place in Harlem's underground mob society. At the end, he was worth more than $150 million, and got a reduced sentence by cutting a deal to expose three-quarters of the NYPD narcotics officers as corrupt. I love to use a salt grinder to add Pink Himalayan Salt, and some pepper also, Bake Chicken using food thermometer, basting chicken with pan juices every 10 minutes or so. What the hell kind of a thing is that to do, when the usual practice would be to share it with the boys?There is something inside Roberts that will not bend, not even when his powerful colleague (Josh Brolin) threatens him. He vows to bring down Frank Lucas, and he does, although it isn't easy, and his most troubling opposition comes from within the police.
Lucas, the student of the late Bumpy, has a simple credo: Treat people right, keep a low profile, adhere to sound business practices and hand out turkeys on Thanksgiving.

He can trust the people who work for him because he pays them very well and many of them are his relatives.In the movie, at least, Lucas is low-key and soft-spoken. No rings on his fingers, no gold around his neck, no spinners on his hubcaps, with a quiet marriage to a sweet wife and a Brooks Brothers image. It takes the authorities the longest time to figure out who he is, because they can't believe an African American could hijack the Harlem drug trade from the Mafia.
For one thing, it tells two parallel stories, not one, and it really has to, because without Roberts, there would be no story to tell, and Lucas might still be in business.But that doesn't save us from a stock female character who is becoming increasingly tiresome in the movies, the wife (Carla Gugino) who wants Roberts to choose between his job and his family.
Their obligatory scenes together are recycled from a dozen or a hundred other plots, and although we sympathize with her (will they all be targeted for assassination?), we grow restless during her complaints.
Roberts' domestic crisis is not what the movie is about.It is about an extraordinary entrepreneur whose story was told in a New York magazine article by Mark Jacobson. As adapted into a (somewhat fictionalized) screenplay by Steve Zaillian ("Schindler's List"), Lucas is a loyal driver, bodyguard and coat holder for Bumpy Johnson (who has inspired characters in three other movies, including "The Cotton Club").
The drugs will come to the United States inside the coffins of American casualties, which is apparently based on fact.
Everyone in his distribution chain is reasonably happy, because the product is high quality, the price is right, and there's money for everyone.
Ironically, an epidemic of overdoses occurs when Lucas' high-grade stuff is treated by junkies as if it's the usual weaker street strength. Looking like a care-worn bulldog, his Richie Roberts studies for a law degree, remains inviolate in his ethical standards and just keeps plugging away, building his case.The film ends not with a "Scarface"-style shootout, but with Frank and Richie sitting down for a long, intelligent conversation, written by Zaillian to show two smart men who both know the score.
As I hinted above: less "The Godfather" than "Wall Street," although for that matter a movie named "American Gangster" could have been made about Kenneth Lay.

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