Director Martin Scorsese’s ambitious portrait of New York in the mid-1800s shows the city as an explosive melting pot of different creeds, classes and cultures.

King of those mean streets is ruthless gang leader Daniel Day-Lewis, a butcher by trade and by nature.

Sixteen years earlier, he fought and killed Irish gang leader Liam Neeson in an epic street battle and he maintains his vehement hatred of the many Irish newcomers to the city.

However, unbeknown to him, Neeson’s now grown-up, embittered son (Leonardo DiCaprio) is in his gang…

The plot, really just a standard revenge story, is sometimes hard to follow, but Scorsese recreates the teeming vitality, violence, vice and sheer scale of the city with a breathtaking precision.

Day-Lewis is electrifying and the fiery supporting cast includes John C Reilly, Brendan Gleeson and Cara Seymour.