The Gangs of New York

Martin Scorsese, shame on you.

You had a fantastic idea–you opened up a period of history that has been ill-served. You created a magical spectacle, a sweeping drama with superb visuals. You brought Daniel Day-Lewis back to us, and for this, we love you.

But then what did you do? You hired an incompetent editor. There are more than a dozen bad cuts–not stylistic choices–just crappy continuity and amateurish slices. What’s the matter, didn’t you film enough coverage? Couldn’t you give up those two seconds where Diaz sweeps her skirt around and squats against the wall? Nice shot, but if you can’t edit to it properly, let it go.

Then you couldn’t decide what story to tell. Subplots = good. Rambling = bad. You have made enough films to know how to weave it tightly, make it flow, make it dance intricately, beautifully to the viewer’s imagination. Here, you began an intimate story, then drowned it in historical action. Just one more re-write might have done the trick, but you missed this. You missed it badly.

Finally, you told us that women weren’t involved. Well, there was the one with the filed teeth. And all the nice prostitutes. And Diaz, who could have disappeared completely without hurting the plot. I guarantee you that the women were as important as the men in this struggle–but you chose not to look. You don’t understand women, and you certainly don’t understand Irish women.

If this were your second or third film, most of these gaffes would have been perfectly forgivable. On the whole, Gangs is a gorgeous film. It may even be one of the top five or ten of the year. But this was your 35th film. It was so sloppy you didn’t even bother to make Day-Lewis’s glass eye believable. If you couldn’t pull it off, you could have written it out. But you preferred to go sloppy. I expect more from someone of your obvious genius. You blew a fantastic premise. You wasted a unique opportunity. I left the theater angry with you. For shame.

1 Responses to The Gangs of New York


    Dear Cat,

    Wow, what a site! Congratulations! There is enough interesting stuff here to keep a retiree busy for weeks!

    Elliott and I saw “Gangs of New York” and thought it was the worst thing that Scorcese has produced and directed, and that includes manyof his films, filled with bad language and obnoxius characters! “Gangs” has so much brutality and violence, that it is hard to believe that such events really happened in the history of New York City. Thankfully, the movie-going public has not been flocking to this monstrosity!

    We thought that the selection of DiCaprio was again a mistake. He is constantly miscast in roles calling for a “hero” personna. Instead, he has a baby face, and a demeanor that suggests he has some growing up to do!

    I called the Recreation Dept. not to bring “Gangs of New York” to our retirement community. It is too violent, too depressing, but then, Scorcese thrives on those themes, and the critics are at fault by praising his work, but the movie fans are smarter!

    Keep up the good work, Cat. I’m proud of you!


    Grandma Mildred