A kind of retrospective of the past decade's great Gangster/Crime movies. As much it can bother some people, Gangster movies are very much a part of the rich history of movies. Stuff like The Godfather movies, Goodfellas, Donnie Brasco, Casino, Scarface, Reservoir Dogs, Miller's Crossing, Carlito's Way, Pulp Fiction and Mean Streets have invigorated and tensed us up for years now. Each and every decade establishes new and inventive boundaries to this genre, the last one was no exception. This is an important genre for Cinema because some of the greatest movies have come from it and have established new and inventive ways in which we see violence.
1) The DepartedLeave it to Scorsese to make another Gangster classic. Scorsese ditches Italian mobsters for the Irish. Violent, repulsive and undeniably watchable, here's a movie that rightfully won the Best Picture Oscar that Scorsese's Goodfellas so badly deserved but lost back in the early 90's.
2) City Of GodBrazillian slum kids killing each other in Fernando Mereilles' brilliant, kinetic fever dream of a movie shot with an indelible poet's eye for detail. This is a movie that opened eyes up and made people pay attention to a brutal part of the world.
3) Un PropheteLeave it to the french to make high art out of high violence. Jaques Audiard's mesmerizing gangster epic made my ten best list last year because of its incredible ambition, scope and eye popping nasty look into the French-Italian criminal underworld.
4) A Histroy Of ViolenceA revisionist Gangster movie from David Cronenberg. Call it a Neo-Gangster. The way Unforgiven changed the western, this might have changed the gangster picture. Viggo Mortensen's simple, blue collar man -or so it seems- has secrets he has never even told his family. Trying to get out of the mob was never this hard.
5) American GangsterDenzel Washington as Harry Osbourne, the first true black gangster. A soon to be classic for the hip-hop crowd, just like Scarface in the late 90's execpt this one has more substance and two killer performances from Washington and Russell Crowe.
6) Gangs Of New YorkScorsese again. This time it's the streets of New York circa the 1800's when there really was no rule of law and blood was coming out of every corner. Take away the love story involving a petty pickpocket played by Cameron Diaz and you have a perfect movie.
7) Road To PerditionA sweet, passionate gangster movie that can turn violent at any moment. Just the way we want it. Sam Mendes' underrated gem came and went in the early aughts, yet I see it more and more striking a chord with people I talk to. It's aging like fine wine.
8) Public EnemiesJohn Dillinger didn't just steal banks, he became a celebrity out of it. Michael Mann uses his new muse -a digital camera- to get straight to the core of what Dillinger was all about. Johnny Depp is perfectly at home here, just like he was in Donnie Brasco.
9) Eastern PromisesAnother one from Cronenberg and Mortensen, this time it's the russian mob. It might not reach the heights of A History Of Violence but is nevertheless so engrossing it deserves a spot on this list. Sheer, playful, nasty fun and wait until you see the hot bath scene.
10) Lord Of WarMaybe the most disliked of all the movies I've named thus far, yet it was such a kick to watch Nicolas Cage get into the crime business as a good man who just wanted to deal guns. Give it a look, it might surprise you.
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