Monday, May 26, 2014

5 Films: Martin Scorsese

Today, we look at 5 Films from the American master, Martin Scorsese.

1. Goodfellas (1990) - You can have your Godfather trilogy, I will take this gangster film from Scorsese. Tells the true story of Henry Hill and his rise through the ranks of the mafia and his eventual fall. Great performances by Ray Liotta, Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci, and Scorsese brilliantly captures the organized crime world.

2. Raging Bull (1980) - After the success of Taxi Driver, Scorsese and screenwriter Schrader teamed up again, this time to explore the life of real boxer, Jake LaMotta. LaMotta got out of the New York slums to become a champion boxer during the 1940s. The violence in the ring often made its way into his life, and his unpredictability and violent outbursts alienated the people he wanted to bring closer. Shot in stark black and white, Scorsese shoots the most beautiful, but harrowing, boxing scenes ever filmed. He doesn’t shy away from the violence, and the effect it has on the title character.

3. The Last Temptation of Christ (1987) - Scorsese ruffled some feathers among religious groups with this story of Jesus Christ's dual nature. It deals with the human side, which angered many. Still a thought provoking film.

4. Taxi Driver (1976) - The 1970s were known for being filled with gritty American films. Times were tough, and the filmmakers took out their anger on celluloid. There is probably no film as gritty as this Scorsese film, his first masterpiece. Robert Deniro plays Travis Bickle, a Vietnam vet that is slowly descending into madness. He drives around New York City constantly confronted by pimps, prostitutes, druggies, murderers, the scum of the city. But Bickle is drawn to it, and his inability to look the other way drives him mad. He tries to have some kind of a normal life, asking out a beautiful blonde, but he can’t keep her from the world that envelops him. Jodie Foster burst onto the scene with her portrayal of a teenage prostitute. Bickle wants to protect her, but she doesn’t want to be protected. All the problems lead to an ultra violent ending, one which had to be censored before going onto the screen.

5. Gangs of New York (2002) - Scorsese went back to old New York, the 1860s to show the gang violence that ran the city in those days. Leonardo DiCaprio plays a man seeking vengeance on a psychotic killer (Daniel Day-Lewis) who killed his father.

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