Despite its grandiose title and being based on a true story, American Gangster is not the definitive American gangster film. Only half the film concerns the gangster element, although it is the classic rise to power story through boldness, cunning and strategic brutality. The other half of the film is the archetypal story of an increasingly shunned cop who overcomes the odds to dispense justice. This aspect of American Gangster, plus its 70s New York and New Jersey urban settings, make it evoke The French Connection and Serpico more than The Godfather or Goodfellas.
Tony Scott films tend to be a hit or miss affair. Deja Vu does not miss completely but it certainly isn’t a hit either. Denzel Washington plays AFT Agent Doug Carlin who is convinced that an investigation into the recent murder of a young woman will reveal the mastermind behind a horrific terrorist attack against a New Orleans ferry carrying returning servicemen and their families. During his investigation he is recruited by FBI Agent Andrew Pryzwarra (Val Kilmer) into a special task force that has the technology to see into past. Before too long Carlin discovers that this technology may enable him to do more than simply look into the past.