Thoughts on "Gangs of New York" - U2 Feedback

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Old 12-21-2002, 01:37 AM   #1
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Thoughts on "Gangs of New York"

Of course, a really inefficient way of hearing the soundtrack version of "Hands" is just to fork out $9.00 and see the damn movie.

What'd you all think? I've only mulled over it for about half-an-hour, but I'm pretty sure I liked it. Where Scorsese fails is in building an emotional attachment between the audience and his characters. Frankly, I didn't care whether or not Amsterdam got his revenge; in fact, Daniel Day-Lewis runs so many acting circles around Leo DiCaprio that I prayed Bill the Butcher would outlast his would-be avenger. The movie succeeds in spite of its ill-developed characters, however, and I think it's because New York is really the main "actor" in this movie. Scorsese does a beautiful job of depicting a savage, vibrant, changing New York, a city changing so fast in fact that the draft riots sweep up both the protagonist and the antagonist. In the final scene, Amsterdam and Bill both realize that they are dinosaurs: where once they could lead their tribes to power over a small chunck of the city, now New York eclipses even them and their age-old vendetta.

Two U2-related questions: beforehand, there was a preview for a movie whose title escapes me now, and one of the songs they played sounded like Bono singing an old bossa-nova standard. Any idea of the movie or the song?

Also, in the "Gangs" credits, Bono either sang or wrote one of the film's period pieces, but I didn't catch the title. Do any of you soundtrack owners know which one this is?
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Old 12-21-2002, 10:26 AM   #2
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I was underwhelmed by it. I wasn't disappointed but I wanted more. I agree about that the characters really didn't connect with the audience on more than surface level, and that is the main reason that I didn't love it. I thought it was a great piece of film-making, but not a great example of storytelling. The great visual style and cinematography was balenced by some cliched dialogue and bad pacing. It might make more sense with all 18 hours of footage which might account for the sense of being incoherent in places. But Daniel Day-Lewis made up for most of my critisisms of the movie, what a performance.

Overall, I liked it but it was not the best movie of the year as Rolling Stone said.
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Old 12-23-2002, 01:53 PM   #3
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Saw the movie yesterday and like the song...IT SUCKS!!!

Boring and unfocused! I should have seen the writing on the wall when the film was in post for over a year.
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Old 12-23-2002, 06:22 PM   #4
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Last night I saw Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and I must that is a good movie. Anyways, on our way out, we stopped in to see a little bit of the Gangs of New York. We walked in during the final battle scene, and I must say, that was the most disgusting scene. I am appalled that U2 would endorse or associate themselves with such a brutaly violent film. I am not spending my money to see women and children lie in a 6 inch pool of blood.
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Old 12-24-2002, 09:43 AM   #5
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As Roger Ebert says, "it's not what it's about, it's how it's about".

So it depends on how the violence is treated. Is it glamorized? Does it affect you on an emotional level? Does it revile you, or are you left indifferent by it?

I haven't seen the movie, but I think those are important considerations. Life (and by extention, the movies) is about great beauty and great ugliness too.

If a movie contains such ugliness, does it serve some greater purpose? If it causes you to consider issues and history seriously, then it's not exploitive. Take another Scorcese film, Goodfellows. Not very glamorous stuff. Those guys were thugs and vermin. Tough to watch sometimes, but you are not left romanticizing them like some other gangster movies. (Perhaps those glossier movie depictions helped contribute to the inexplicable idolization that some segment of New Yorkers garnered upon that vile thug John Gotti. He had style. polish. charm. the "Dapper Don", somehow managing to miss the utter depravity of the man).

You may not enjoy seeing it, but sometimes we must confront these things, instead of avoiding them. If you choose to see only happy, nonconfrontational movies, or movies that gloss over the ugliness, then you can continue to pretend they don't exist.

I think Bono/U2 would agree with this. And therefore, that is probably why they would agree to participate.
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Old 12-25-2002, 10:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bound
As Roger Ebert says, "it's not what it's about, it's how it's about".

So it depends on how the violence is treated. Is it glamorized? Does it affect you on an emotional level? Does it revile you, or are you left indifferent by it?

I haven't seen the movie, but I think those are important considerations. Life (and by extention, the movies) is about great beauty and great ugliness too.

If a movie contains such ugliness, does it serve some greater purpose? If it causes you to consider issues and history seriously, then it's not exploitive. Take another Scorcese film, Goodfellows. Not very glamorous stuff. Those guys were thugs and vermin. Tough to watch sometimes, but you are not left romanticizing them like some other gangster movies. (Perhaps those glossier movie depictions helped contribute to the inexplicable idolization that some segment of New Yorkers garnered upon that vile thug John Gotti. He had style. polish. charm. the "Dapper Don", somehow managing to miss the utter depravity of the man).

You may not enjoy seeing it, but sometimes we must confront these things, instead of avoiding them. If you choose to see only happy, nonconfrontational movies, or movies that gloss over the ugliness, then you can continue to pretend they don't exist.

I think Bono/U2 would agree with this. And therefore, that is probably why they would agree to participate.
Exactly.

I haven't seen the movie yet (can't, not here in my small town yet (we just recently got "My Big Fat Greek Wedding")), though, anyway, so I can't comment much on it.

But Bound's post makes sense.

Angela
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Old 12-26-2002, 04:47 AM   #7
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I just got back from seeing this movie! I liked it, but I honestly think they could have put all of that in 2 hours! A lot of uneccessary scenes IMO! Daniel Day-Lewis gave an amazing performance!

The ending could have been a bit better! The Climax was there but could have had more... I dunno I was expecting more from the ending.

Leo was ok. Some of the fight scenes are a bit violent and gruesome, but overall I liked it, didn't love it, but liked it.

Next movie to see "Catch Me If You Can!"
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Old 12-28-2002, 12:18 AM   #8
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I just got back from this movie and all i could say during the closing credits was WOW!

This movie had to be the bloodiest movie that I have ever seen next to Saving Private Ryan. I was pretty much covering my eyes the entire time during the fight scenes. The costumes, set designs and cinematography were beautiful and amazing. This movie will do very well at the Golden Globes and Oscars.

The acting was fantastic. Daniel Day Lewis freaked me out and scared the hell out of me so that goes to show you his acting was fantastic. I am not a Cameron Diaz fan, but i have to say she did a fine job with her roll in this movie, which was a pleasant surprise. Leonardo's role as Amsterdam was great. I found myself rooting for him the entire time. The only role I was a bit disappointed in was with Henry Thomas's character; I felt that his part could have been expanded on a little more. however, wtf was up with the Elephant during the last scene!? lmfao i had the loudest laugh in the theatre because of the elephant!

Now about U2... I have to say that the movie version is 100% better than the best of version…Way to go U2 for a fantastic movie song and the Golden Globe nom!
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Old 12-29-2002, 04:49 AM   #9
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The aspect I found most facinating about the film was the concept of divisions, cross cutting through all the city's strata. You had, of course, the Natives vs. the Dead Rabbits; nationalists vs. immigrants; the pro-Union movement vs. anti-Union; racist vs. anti-slavery; politics vs. crime; Catholics vs. non-Catholics/heathens; rich vs. poor; populace mobs vs. armed soldiers; etc.

My gut impression was that each conflict is transcended by an even greater conflict, and by the end of the movie, the personal grudge between Vallon and Butcher is reduced to an insignificant matter. And in the end, all the conflicts fall to the ultimate power: time. One-hundred and forty years later, the city has overcome the gang fights, the draft riots, the corruption, the disorder... I think there's a powerful message there, but I can't quite get my mind wrapped around it.

I'm really curious about the historical accuracy of the events... Anyone know how much of it actually took place?
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Old 12-29-2002, 10:10 AM   #10
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Well, the draft riots actually happened. And the rioters were brought down by US troops like they show in the movie. I don't really know how accurately they portray the Five Points, although from what I see of pictures of the actual Five Points, they recreated it very well. It was basically the most notorious slum in the US and the tenement they show at the beginning of the movie did exist was considered to be the worst in the city. There were gang fights there. And a lot of the gang names they give in the movie (The Dead Rabbits, The Bowery Boys) were actual gangs in the Five Points, which I was suprised to learn. I don't really know anything beyond that, though.
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Old 12-29-2002, 07:17 PM   #11
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I thought the movie was great! Yes it wa a little gruesome but that was the reality of New York at the time and in terms of a historical movie, I would rather have it accurate than toned down to be pretty. That's what made Saving Private Ryan so good.

Daniel Day-Lewis was amazing and I was pleasantly surprised by Leo's performance. It may not get Picture of the Year at the Oscars but Scorcese should get an Oscar for best director.
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Old 12-29-2002, 09:30 PM   #12
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this movie was very powerful to me. at the end, while "the hands that built america" was playing, i just sat there and listened to the song. it meant so much more...it was so sad yet hopeful. when they show the graves and the skyline in the background progressing...powerful. but the movie was so gruesome and so disgustingly violent at times that i could barely stomach it...which is saying something because my stomach is in no way weak. daniel day-lewis was absolutely excellent. he was so cruel and evil, but at times i actually liked him. his performance deserves recognition.

so...my final impression of the movie is this: it was good, but i don't want to see it again.
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