trailer mix

Is ‘American Gangster’ the Black ‘Godfather’?

Tagline: “No black man has accomplished what the American Mafia hasn’t — in a hundred years!”

Translation: Ridley Scott really wants you to think he’s made a black Godfather.

The Gist: Jay-Z’s “Heart of the City” is a safe but solid, throwback-sounding soundtrack for a film about seventies New York’s drug kingpin Frank Lucas. (It’s based on a New York article by Mark Jacobson.) The trailer is a relentless Coppola-cribbing sell, old-fashioned and dripping in so many Americana gang clichés you imagine you know exactly what’s going to happen. They show too much. Still, Denzel looks sharp, Common’s barely in the trailer (smart!) and Russell Crowe, as the cop, looks appropriately gruff and Insider-husky. But Crowe’s accent? Australian? New Yawk? It’s the trailer’s lone mystery. —Logan Hill

Related: The Return of Superfly [NYM]

Is ‘American Gangster’ the Black ‘Godfather’?