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SALT LAKE CITY — The prohibition tale "Lawless" opens this week and the gangster film got us wondering, "What's the gangster film of the 2000's?"
Cidade de Deus (City of God) (2002)
This one may seem like an odd choice considering it's a foreign film and doesn't have any of the traditional American "gangster" themes. But the Brazilian film "Cidade de Deus" is likely one of the most powerful crime films of the past 10 years.
The film follows two boys as they grow up in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, also known as favelas. These favelas are hotbeds of criminal activity and organized crime. As the two boys mature one decides to become a photographer and the other a drug dealer.
The film is difficult to watch at times as you see these innocent children exposed to things no adult should have to live through. But what really hits home, is that the film mimics much of the life children living in favelas experience.
No Country for Old Men (2007)
The Coen brothers are known for making quirky in-your-face films, and "No Country for Old Men" is no exception.
Country is about a down-on-his-luck hunter who comes across a drug deal gone badly and winds up with two million dollars cash. As soon as he takes the loot he has the scariest man of all time on his tail.
Country is brutal and emotional. You are terrified of Javier Bardem's character, but you cannot wait for him to pop back up on screen.
Country is not a film for everyone, but if you love a good crime flick you do not want to miss this one.
Mystic River (2003)
The rough and tough film focuses on three men who were childhood friends and where they are today. One is a Boston Police officer, another, an awkward father trying to keep his family safe, and the third is the kingpin in a small organized crime unit in his Boston neighborhood.
The three childhood friends become intertwined in adulthood when the crime boss' daughter is murdered.
The film has a "gangster" backdrop, but it's really a film about family, duty and revenge. It's a beautifully brutal film that will hit you emotionally and stick with you for days.
"Gone Baby Gone" is another Dennis Lehane novel and this time it was Ben Affleck behind the camera in his feature directorial debut.
"Gone Baby Gone" is a tough one to wrap your head around, but at its core it's a film about a private investigator trying to find a kidnapped child.
The private investigator confronts and interrogates organized crime syndicates, drug lords and cops across Boston in an effort to find the girl.
It appears Ben Affleck found his calling behind the camera and his brother Casey shows he may have the real acting chops in the Affleck family.
"Gone Baby Gone" has one major flaw and that's language. It is constant and assaulting throughout the film. If this is a concern for you catch the film on TV, where the language will be cut out.
The film is powerful and brings up ethical questions that will keep you asking yourself the question, "What would I do?" for days after viewing it.
The Departed (2006)
"The Departed" may just take the cake as the defining gangster film of the 2000's. And does that really come as a surprise considering the king of gangster films, Martin Scorsese, directed it?
Departed is a remake of the Hong Kong film "Infernal Affairs" and many argued it outdoes the original.
The film follows two young cops as they move forward in their career. One is an undercover officer who has infiltrated the biggest organized crime syndicate in Boston. The other is a mole working for the crime boss inside the Massachusetts State Police.
The film is an assault on the senses and takes you into the terrifying underground world of the Irish mob.
The film, like "Gone Baby Gone," is riddled with language, so a TV viewing may better suit some audiences.
The ensemble cast of Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin and Mark Whalberg is possibly one of the greatest in a gangster-crime film ever.
So, there are five gangster films that could be "The Godfather" or "Scarface" of the 2000's.
I know some of you are up in arms and screaming at your computers because I left off "American Gangster," "Gangs of New York" or even "Road to Perdition." Well, tell me why they deserve to be on the list.
What did I miss? What do you think is the defining gangster film of the 2000's? Tell us on the comment boards and on Facebook. And as always you can shoot me an email.