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Philippines Vacation : Travel Guide And Memoir by [Rundell, Marina]

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Film Reviews:  Gangs of New York Movie

Gangs of New York is filled with artistic details but I spent most of the time hiding my eyes because Daniel Day-Lewis does a great job of playing a truly evil person.  Everything about what he does points to his character.  For instance, pay attention to how he walks.  It's an evil person's walk.  Remember the scene where he taps the sharp knife onto his glass eye?  That's a great scene, in addition to his many, great, evil scenes.

This is an edgy, not a feel-good, illustration of historical New York.  Even the portrayal of how Civil War, dead soldiers are thrown in graves is not the traditional way one would treat a dead soldier who has just fought for his country.   Martin Scorsese does a great job of making you feel uncomfortable.

While I winced from scene to scene, here are some artistic details that stood out.  

  • There is the shaving scene of the father in the beginning that is repeated with the shaving scene of the son toward the end.  
  • The "Amen" scenes of Daniel Day-Lewis, Amsterdam and the politician are cut from one to the other to represent irony, faith, and etiquette, respectively.
  • There is also the irony of the theater shows.  The shows include Uncle Tom's cabin which deals with the subject of slavery, and there is also the Chinese acrobatic show.  Why is Daniel Day-Lewis, who is a staunch believer that he is an American native, and who dislikes foreigners and minorities, watching such shows?  He treats immigrants, and in this case, Irish immigrants, with scorn.
  • In the end there is also the cut from the graves of Daniel Day-Lewis and Amsterdam's father, side by side, to the modern, New York skyline, which trivializes Cutting's hold on New York history, which in this movie is treated dramatically whether historically accurate or not. 
  • The dark humor of the name, "Sir William Cutting" -- the fact he's a butcher and he uses his knives for his dark deeds.
  • Also, pay attention to the times when Day-Lewis is sharpening his knives.  They are added for a reason.  Are they used as an artistic detail to separate main segments of the movie?  If yes, it's a wonderful, new image not seen in movies before.

Also, another observation is how the movie reminded me of Gladiator, but with an American twist.  The opening fight sequence is very bloody and Daniel Day-Lewis holds up his sword yelling victory, like Russell Crowe did.  Also, the camera technique of using slow motion during the fight with the appropriate music, again reminded me of Gladiator when the scenes of Russell Crowe are shown in slow motion at certain points during the fight.  The similarity of these opening scenes seems "appropriate" because these two actors are with the best in their league.  Remember Day-Lewis in My Left Foot?  Does it remind you of Crowe in A Beautiful Mind?

Because Daniel Day-Lewis got an Oscar nomination for his role in Gangs of New York, it is clear that the Academy is willing to recognize actors who play well the "bad guy."  This was also true with Denzel Washington with his role in Training Day.

It will be interesting to find out if the "bad" character wins an Oscar again.

Whatever the outcome, it's great to see Daniel Day-Lewis on the screen again.


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