This evening we ticked off another of the films on our coast-to-coast list, Martin Scorsese’s 2002 Gangs of New York. This story of gang warfare in New York City’s notorious Five Points district is based on plenty of historical truth, with nativists (those born in New York) fighting to prevent waves of Irish immigrants from establishing supremacy whilst increasing amounts of humanity were being squeezed into the slum. The powder keg eventually exploded over the draft (for the civil war), leading Lincoln to send several regiments to the city to control what had essentially become full-blown race riots (complete with lynch mobs). Daniel Day-Lewis, playing the leader of the nativists, Bill ‘The Butcher’ Cutting, is undoubtedly the star of the show. He also gets all the best lines. ‘When you kill a king you kill him where the whole court can watch him die.’ ‘The appearance of the law must be upheld, especially whilst it’s being broken.’ And ‘The first rule of politics: the ballots don’t make the results, it’s the counters.’ (Are you listening, Al Gore?) At the very end of the film we watch over Cutting’s supposed Brooklyn Heights grave as the modern city of New York steadily grows where once the slums had been. None of it mattered, the film is telling us, and yet it mattered a lot to its protagonists.