American gangster movies analyzed by a German journalist
"Hollywood Gangster" by the German director / writer / journalist Eckhart Schmidt is a very interesting and informative documentary about the Amercian gangster movie. It has all the essential stylistic ingredients of a documentary (containing interviews with filmmakers, film analysts and journalists as well as comparisons to the authentic personalities behind the film characters) and provides many film examples using different original footages (strikingly often from the black & white flicks) and stills (mostly in the end from the modern gangster movies - perhaps for economical reasons) to illustrate the chain of arguments and theories. The audience faces many old and forgotten movies like "Little Caesar", Howard Hawks' "Scarface", "Boiling Point" with the special offer to look at the message behind the pictures - which reveals the struggling problems of the society of those times and the ambiguity of the gangster's being, moreover crime as revolution against the system and the dubious law. In the last third of the documentary director Schmidt draws a bow on the modern gangster movies (the prominent ones by De Palma, Coppola, Scorsese), ending with Ridley Scott's "American Gangster".
In the end one gets the impression that movies nowadays are made more visually striking and contain less and less social criticism, as well as losing the subtle message towards society and the romantic idea of being a gangster with its own codex system. Behaving amoral has become not that uncommon as it used to be, one might resume, probably because capitalism, egoistic behavior, profiling and senseless consumption has integrated in our daily routine.
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