And it's pretty good. Ridley Scott is nearly always awesome. Same for Denzel Washington (Frank Lucas). And if you can look past his personal life drama, Russell Crowe (Richie Roberts) is also a great actor. Many critics have raved about this movie, I'll just say "me too" with a few personal additions. Just random things I noticed during the movie:
First, I have a thing about needles, so watching so many people do heroin give me the heebie-jeebies. Second, despite it's 2 hour, 37 minute running time and it's methodical pace, it still moves well. Third, it feels oddly epic for a story that takes place over just a few years (Frank's heroin empire was based on shipments coming directly from southeast Asia smuggled in on troop transports from the Vietnam war. He was stopped just as the war ended). Fourth, having the heroin processed by naked women was just a bit gratuitous. Sure, it's explained by saying with no clothes they can't steal anything, but still...not that I'm complaining. Fifth, about halfway through I noticed that Russell Crowe was wearing a pendant with a Star of David on it and suddenly realized he's Jewish! This is confirmed with an anti-semitic slur near the end of the movie. And then I thought, 'Wait, he's Jewish and in the beginning he confiscated $987,000 and turned it in rather than keeping it (establishing that he's an honest cop)? Way to break stereotypes!' And finally, spoiler alert: over 3/4 of the NYPD narcotics unit was caught for corruption at the end? That's a hell of a story, and is the B plot of this movie. This was a long movie, and there's a whole second movie to be made of the parts that weren't told.