December 29, 2002 |
Martin Scorsese's "Gangs of New York" begins in the bowels of the Earth, which is appropriate, because he is digging deep -- perhaps deeper than any filmmaker has ever done before -- into the American past. As the movie opens, the Dead Rabbits, a legendary Irish street gang in pre-Civil War New York, is preparing for battle against their "Native American" (i.e., Anglo) rivals. Down in the cellars of the Old Brewery, the Rabbits sharpen blades, sharpen teeth, pick up crude clubs.
December 8, 2002 |
It's hard to imagine what sort of films Martin Scorsese might have made -- if any -- had he remained in Queens. He draws laughs when he confesses to an audience here that he spent his first years in a two-family house there, with a tree out back. "It had leaves!" he adds in that rapid-fire voice of his, and they roar again at the notion that America's great filmmaker of the streets might have grown up around anything green.