American Gangster/Gladiator/State of Play
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Triple bill of films starring Russell Crowe. In 'American Gangster' (2007), when his boss dies, underworld driver Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) seizes his chance and begins to build his own criminal empire in Harlem. Utilising the bodies of dead US soldiers, Lucas begins importing heroin direct from South-East Asia, increasing purity on the street, and undercutting his rivals in one swoop. Before long he's amassed a fortune, bringing him to the attention of maverick policeman Ritchie Roberts (Crowe), an honest cop in an otherwise corrupt force, who makes it his business to shut Lucas down. In Ridley Scott's Oscar-winning take on the Roman epic, 'Gladiator' (2000), after the death of Emperor Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris), Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) betrays the Emperor's beloved General Maximus (Crowe) and takes the throne for himself. Maximus is sold as a slave and then trained as a gladiator, keeping himself strong with thoughts of revenge. Eventually he is taken to the Colosseum, where he prepares to fight in a contest presided over by the corrupt Commodus. Will he suffer the ultimate humiliation and die for the entertainment of his enemy or will he survive the rigors of the arena and find a way of exacting his revenge? Finally, 'State of Play' (2009) is a political thriller based on the acclaimed 2003 BBC mini-series. With the action transposed from Westminster to Washington, the film follows the investigations of journalist Cal McAffrey (Crowe) as he probes into the suspicious death of the mistress and former research assistant of ambitious up-and-coming Congressman and potential presidential candidate Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck). As he works alongside the police on the case, McAffrey becomes romantically involved with the Congressman's estranged wife, Anne (Robin Wright Penn).
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- American Gangster/Gladiator/State of Play
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