Knocked Up aside, this summer’s been pretty disappointing for me thus far, so I find myself already looking to the traditionally meatier Fall schedule where one film towers above all others for me: American Gangster. From the moment I first heard of the film’s central trinity of greatness – Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, and director Ridley Scott – to the subsequent casting announcements of supporting gems like Common, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Idris Elba, and John Hawkes, I only become more and more excited for the mano-a-mano cop vs. crimelord tale set in the 70s. Although the common practice these days is to maximize your enthusiasm level at “cautiously optimistic,” I say fuck that and let’s expect greatness. With that being said, the only question was how soon would a trailer arrive, and it’s been answered.
Thanks to a tip from stalwart chewer Brian Henne, we know the trailer’s up in beautiful QuickTime over at Yahoo, and it’s a doozy. It starts with Denzel leading his crew through the streets of Harlem and relating an anecdote that puts the racial element of the film front and nature. Denzel’s playing real-life drug lord Frank Lucas, a heroin operator in the 70s who became notorious not just for being such a big-time dealer, but also a black man bypassing traditionally white and Italian channels to secure his dope. He was the first “Nino Brown”, using his wealth and Robin Hood-esque legend to endear himself to the community, even as he destroyed it with his main product. The rest of the trailer elaborates on this as we see Denzel solidifying his home base while Crowe, as the cop hot on his trail, attempts to alert incredulous superiors that a lone black man has somehow broken the criminal world’s glass ceiling.
Hell, why bother reading another word? Go here now to see it for yourself.