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February 19, 2003

Bill the Butcher

For many outside the United States, the shores of America represent opportunity and freedom. For William "Bill the Butcher" Cutting, seeing foreigners enter this land is right on par with cockroaches scurrying across your kitchen floor: they are unwelcome guests and ought to be exterminated by the rightful owner of the place. As a hardcore "Nativist," Cutting - portrayed by Daniel Day-Lewis in an Oscar nominated performance - controlled the Five Points section of New York with an iron fist, and personally led a number of New York's worst gangs into battle against their Irish counterparts, led by Priest Vallon (Liam Neeson). Fighting by the rules of the streets, the Priest would die and the Natives would win.

Every year on the anniversary of the battle, The Butcher would celebrate this victory and invite a select few. Many years later, the tradition would continue, and one mysterious young man would appear and hope for an invitation of his own. His name is Amsterdam (Leonardo DiCaprio) and he is the Preist's son, hell-bent on revenge. His plan is to get close to The Butcher and gain his trust, then kill him in front of everyone at the annual celebration. In the meantime, however, Amsterdam would begin to understand why so many support the Natives and their shrewd practices. In the streets, many things do not come easily, but they come easier when you're on the right side.

For Bill the Butcher, he was a businessman with political ties, and he was a merciless fighter and leader of his own giant gang. He did have some sense of honor and his growing admiration for Amsterdam would show his softer side. Indeed, Amsterdam's personal vendetta would become vastly more complicated. The Butcher is still the Butcher, though, and his viciousness is undeniable and unrelenting when challenged. In the end, Amsterdam's victory is somewhat hollow because of how deep the Butcher cut psychologically. For a young man who saw his father cut down when he was a boy, to kill the only other man to treat you like his son seems, well, foreign.

INTELLIGENCE - 7: Clever and calculating, Bill had a knack with the scurviest thug and dirtiest politico.

POWER - 7: Combined with his vicious streak, his skills with knives often come in handy in the streets.

VILENESS - 8: His "Butcher" nickname didn't only come from his profession, and those fighting tactics weren't completely honorable.

SWAY - 8: Cutting often employed an intensity rarely matched.

PURITY - 8: He shows a softer side when Amsterdam comes along to provide him with the son he never had.

PHYSICAL - 6: Bushy moustache aside, the Butcher gets an extra point for the bald eagle in his fake eye.


Posted by Destro at February 19, 2003 01:12 PM