Denzel Washington as a mafioso boss?
Sir Ridley Scott is no small name at all and his movies deserves respect. This movie is of course long, well done all the way through but there is a few buts.
1. I have been writing some about this before but can be repeated, recycled and rementioned many times. There seems to be a thing with directors that they all have a secret dream about making a "Godfather" clone that is better than the original. (much like all mp3 player manufacturers dream about making an ipod killer??) No of course this is bound to fail - for many reasons - some of them I am sure you can find from my earlier ranting about these movies.
2. When making an epic master piece one is advised not to tell the whole story but to find an angle and a subplot to put focus on - otherwise one can easily end up with a movie which is:
We do not understand what the real meaning is
of course you do understand where I am going? So I will not go further on these issues.
Now there are other things. Denzel is an excellent actor but he somewhat does not feel right to this role. Maybe this is why he is put there. To make us feel uncomfortable with it? This is at least a possibility. On one hand a kind and caring man on the other hand he plays a man full of complex issues because of being on the low end of the food chain (driver) for many years. This makes us uneasy and in a way maybe even forgiving when we see pictures of drug addicts having a bad time and cold blooded murders?
Oh and then there is Russel Crowe. Again a personality there is hard to understand what drives. On one hand he is so loyal and honest that other cops dislike him for it, yes even hate him. On the other hand he can not care jack shit about his wife or kid... This is of course a part of his personal development during the movie.
and again I do the mistake of ranting about a movies bad sides when there are good sides. Yes it is a good movie but a tad to long and a tad tad.. The one scene where he introduces his brothers to what he is doing is just "classic"!