I just finished watching 'American Gangster' on DVD. Movie is nicely directed by Ridley Scott with 'invisible' camera technique that not only doesn't bring attention to itself, it makes you forget you're watching a movie. Also to credit for this movie's easy flow is screenwriter Steven Zaillian whose script brings this true story to life in a direct and accessible way, without over-stylizing it for the big screen. Drug lord Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) and the detective that chased him, Ritchie Roberts (Russell Crowe), are brought to life by Zaillian's script, and backstory is handled so effectively and naturally you feel like you know them by the end of the movie -- in fact you feel like you've known them for years.
'American Gangster' is a pleasure. I'm looking forward to watching the extended unrated version.
Here's Denzel's outlook on Lucas, with comments by Brian Grazer, Ridley Scott, and Russell Crowe.