MORE GANGS: WHAT HE SAID
If there are only two of us in the critics’ community who dare to label Gangs of New York as 2003’s Emporer’s New Movie, I am glad the other one is the great Eric Metaxas. Check out his column over at Christianity Today.
I particularly second this:
…Scorsese was powerfully conflicted in making this film, torn between making a mainstream historical Hollywood epic that could be big box-office and making another “personal artistic statement,” one that could further bolster his reputation as a nobody-owns-me capo di tutti capos auteur – and even better, one that could garrote history to definitively glorify his beloved violence and gangsterism. Guess which side won? Bada-bing!
I should have known where it was all going when I saw a tv commercial for the film that said America “was born in the streets.” I had a disturbing image of that bald-pated upstart Ben Franklin strutting about Independence Hall to the tune of Street Fighting Man.
In the past critics often attributed the bloodletting of Scorsese’s films to some religiously-themed impulse – it was all about catharsis and cleansing somehow. They would invariably cite the crucifixes scattered throughout his films and rehearse the weary factoid that Scorsese had once “wanted to become a priest.” The slim truth of this has diminished with each film, until now it’s 99 44/100ths % hogwash. We are left with
multitudinous seas incarnadine, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.