Last week I watched Gangs of New York, I bought this DVD a couple of weeks ago in a bundle which also contained Spy Game and Assault on Precinct 13. This movie was released in 2002 and features Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis and Cameron Diaz.
This was the second time I’ve watched this movie, the first time was a couple of years ago at school, it was already three years ago since I’ve seen this movie but I still remembered quite a few fragments from the movie. Gangs of New York is set in early to middle 19th century and tells the violent story of the gangs in the Five Points in New York, a very poor neighbourhood with lots of immigrants.
The movie follows two major gangs: the Nativists and the Dead Rabbits. The Nativists are led by William Cutting, nicknamed Bill the Butcher. The Nativists are Protestant Americans with an open hatred of immigrants. The Dead Rabbits are Irish immigrants, led by the Catholic Priest Vallon. The movie starts with a big gang war between these two factions and shows how Priest Vallon gets killed by Bill the Butcher. Vallon’s young son witnesses this tragic event and is poised to revenge his father, although that isn’t as easy as he expected.
This movie is of course not 100% historically accurate but it’s very entertaining. This almost three hour long movie takes you back to 19th century New York and never really bores. Especially Daniel Day-Lewis’ Bill the Butcher was a very cool twisted evil character, very nicely acted. I give Gangs of New York a 8/10.
The DVD also features a feature length director’s commentary and there’s also a second bonus DVD with a look at the sets, the design of the costumes, some history of the Five Points, a Discovery documentary about Uncovering The Real Gangs of New York and a music video of U2’s The Hands That Build America. The extras on this DVD are pretty good.