Gangs of New York

By Mark Ramsey | 2002/12/20

“The stories of old New York are the stories of our roots. In fact, you’ll grow roots right into your chair before Gangs of New York is close to ending.”

That from director Martin Scorcese, who spoke so fast reporters’ pencils ignited into tiny campfires.

Setting: The “Five Points,” a squalid corner of the city where the melting pot boils over. “Each of the Five Points is a finger,” says Daniel Day-Lewis, “and when I close my hand it becomes a fist. And when I tuck my thumb under it becomes an alligator. And when I raise two fingers it becomes a bunny rabbit.”


Daniel sure looks dandy in his plaid pants. “Add a set of Callaways and a green blazer, and I could win the Masters!” he boasts.

With his stovepipe hat and handlebar mustache, Daniel should be snidely whiplashing lasses to railroad tracks. Instead, he’s “Bill the Butcher,” and he slices through a side of beef and a page of dialogue with equally inflated enthusiasm. Not just an actor’s actor, Daniel’s an actor’s Rip Taylor!

Enter Leo DiCaprio, who pins his hair into a neat little bun, suggesting his life of vice and skullduggery is punctuated by a part-time gig in the school cafeteria. “I’ll kill you as retribution for the death of my father,” Leo screams at Daniel, “and for unauthorized seconds on the tater tots, you wily ruffian!”

Leo is an actor of prodigious, scary talent and sparse, scary facial hair. Before U2, before the Corrs, and before Leo Irish-danced on the Titanic, he was evidently Irish-dancing in old New York. When can we enjoy all of Leo’s Irish-dancing movies in one DVD boxed set?

gangs_bosomcurlshair.jpgDaniel is pissed, you see. All would be well if not for the “foreign invaders.” The dirty, stinkin’ locals don’t care for the dirty, stinkin’ immigrants – too much pot luck in the melting pot. So both sides slip into striped wardrobe and suspenders – they’re either bracing for a fight or a clown-off. It’s the war of the Larry King people!

Just try to be intimidating in a stovepipe hat, I dare you! Which way to the audition for Seussical the Musical?

“Ears and noses will be the trophies of the day!” Daniel Day-Lewis tells his crew, “since eyeballs will be too much to ask after the first two-and-a-half hours.”

Gangs of New York is an interminable cinematic migraine of epic scale and even more epic duration. When Daniel tapped his glass eye with a knife, ushers passed around blades so the audience could tap their glassy eyes with one, too.

These Gangs put the “yawn” in Yonkers.

Photos Copyright ©2002 Miramax Films


Comments are closed.

Enter your own funny caption

caption this

“This is where we would kiss if I was attracted to girls”