This motion picture event from acclaimed director Martin Scorsese earned 10 Academy Award(R) nominations including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor, along with 5 Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Song! Leonardo DiCaprio (TITANIC), Cameron Diaz (CHARLIE'S ANGELS), and Daniel Day-Lewis (THE BOXER) star in this epic tale of vengeance and survival! As waves of immigrants swell the population of New York, lawlessness and corruption thrive in lower Manhattan's Five Points section. After years of incarceration, young Irish immigrant Amsterdam Vallon (DiCaprio) returns seeking revenge against the rival gang leader (Day-Lewis) who killed his father. But Amsterdam's personal vendetta becomes part of the gang warfare that erupts as he and his fellow Irishmen fight to carve a place for themselves in their newly adopted homeland!
The plethora of extras on this two-disc set are worth your time. There are several well-produced segments on the physical aspects of the film highlighted by a tour of the vast Cinecittà Studio sets with director Martin Scorsese and production designer Dante Ferretti (with a 360-degree-view feature to boot). Historian Luc Sante introduces you to the Five Corners area in New York circa the mid-19th century, and there's a vintage vocabulary guide (from the 1859 edition of The Rogue's Lexicon
). Even though it was made as a "puff piece" for the movie, the Discovery Channel show "Uncovering the Real Gangs of New York" is an informative half-hour on the film's historical background. There's another espresso double-shot from a Scorsese commentary track. Not recorded traditionally as he watches the movie, the track pieces together thoughts from the director including some recorded in an NPR interview. This allows Scorsese to be even more focused, dealing with the history of the time and his own 30-year struggle to make the film. One serious demerit for stretching the feature film over both discs, which most likely had to be done with having both Dolby 5.1 and DTS tracks along with the commentary on the long film. --Doug Thomas