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American Gangster (2007)

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Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Director Ridley Scott and screenwriter Steven Zaillian Rating:7.6/10 (7 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by iwantmytvm on September 25th, 2020:Find all reviews by iwantmytvm
Scott and Zaillian are recorded separately, which makes the track less dynamic, but perhaps unintentionally matches the element of the dual protagonists in the film.

Scott is often not scene-specific, offering an almost autobiographical talk about his career, touching on his former and current projects, and his aim to make films not movies, as he delineates the distinction being the lasting impression left by films vs the pulp and fleeting nature of movies. He elaborates his thoughts on his filmmaking process, locations, his intution, music - score and source, how music ties into editing, making period films, camera operation, depictions of violence, and even cigars.

Zaillian recounts how author and screenwriter Nick Pileggi approached him with the idea and suggested that he meet and interview Frank Lucas. Subsequently, Zaillian also interviewed Richie Roberts. Scott and later, Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe also met with the real figures they would portray in the the film. Zaillian talks about the difficulty he had in condensing and adapting the wealth of material he obtained in the interviews, and that it took him months to glean an outline for the story. The film itself was an endeavor, taking years before it was made. Scott was attached, then was not for a period of years, before returning to the project.

Both Scott and Zaillian speak about collaboration with the other, as well as working with Crowe and Washington. They recognize the use of the Vietnam War as a time framing device that helped to fit the story within the scope of the era.