In 1862, Amsterdam Vallon (Leonardo DiCaprio) returns after a 16-year absence to a crime-ridden district of New York called Five Points to avenge the murder of his father (Liam Neeson). Instead, he’s taken under the wing of the man who killed him, the neighborhood’s ruthless leader, Bill “The Butcher” Cutting (a splendid Daniel Day-Lewis). But with rampant governmental corruption, escalating immigration, and Civil War threatening to destroy the city, tensions mount between Cutter’s band of ruling “Natives” and the Irish “Dead Rabbits,” the gang once led by Vallon’s father, forcing Vallon to choose sides once and for all. An epic in every sense of the word, director Martin Scorsese’s powerful exploration of class and racial prejudice wonderfully captures a defining moment in New York City history.
Kinsey Scale: 2 (A montage of the burgeoning city’s various subcultures includes quick references to both “Dandies” and “He-Shes.” Jim Broadbent, appearing as corrupt politician William “Boss” Tweed, played bisexual Irish author-philosopher Iris Murdoch’s husband in Iris. Cameron Diaz, seen here as a pickpocket who steals Vallon’s heart, appeared opposite out actor Rupert Everett in gay fave My Best Friend’s Wedding and played a quasi-lesbian in Being John Malcovich. Day-Lewis was in gay author E.M. Forster’s A Room with a View and played gay in My Beautiful Laundrette, as did DiCaprio in Total Eclipse.)
(Appeared in Q Syndicate)