Gangs of New York

Alternate Title: There Will Be Blood
2002 Nominee

Somebody get the popcorn. Daniel Day-Lewis is in this.

Fair warning, this movie is long. You could shovel all the snow off the driveway, watch it get covered with snow again, shovel it again, and the movie would still be playing in the background. Plus, you just shoveled your driveway twice.
It’s worth the time commitment to watch this thing. First, as I already stated, Daniel Day-Lewis is in this movie and if that doesn’t get you pumped up, then I don’t think you’ve seen great acting yet.

Anyway, besides DDL (REPRESENT), this movie features the birth of the Leonardo DiCaprio serious face. You know the one.


He pretty much makes that face the whole time and he hasn’t stopped in over a decade.

Leo’s Irish and so was his dad, played by Liam Neeson. Priest Vallon, AKA Liam Neeson, heads a gang called The Dead Rabbits. Their symbol? It’s a dead fucking rabbit.
Priest Vallon dies at the hands of Bill the Butcher, played by Daniel Day-Lewis. Settle down, it happens like ten minutes into this hundred-hour saga.
Amsterdam (Leonardo DiCaprio) grows up separate from New York City with a plan to avenge the death of his father. Meanwhile, The Civil War is going on, and the casualties mount at an alarming rate. The struggle of the people within the city parallels the story of the struggle of the people within the country as a whole to claim a rightful place as citizens of a country that doesn’t seem to want them in it.

Amsterdam grows up and becomes buddies with Bill the Butcher. He becomes friends with the guy who killed his dad so that he can get close enough to kill him because Irish people prefer to do things with a slow burn, that damages your vital organs over time. That’s why we like whiskey so much. Cheers.

It’s the same classic story of good versus evil, distilled into a story about a dude feeling guilty that the guy who killed his dad took over as his other dad. Parents, right? You can’t live with them. You can’t just replace them with the local butcher and call it a day.

Like a lot of great stories, it’s relevant now, to Americans and outsiders. As welcoming as we’ve wanted to be with our big lady statue and our pretty flag, ultimately, if you want to survive here, you have to take to the streets and prove yourself first. I’m not so sure a lot has changed in the wake of our current situation, but as they say, freedom isn’t free, which is really misleading. Just look at us now.

Maybe don’t look too close.

Now it’s Your Turn…
Gangs of New York was nominated for Best Picture in 2002, but did the Academy get it right?

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