Note: I am taking a class all on Martin Scorsese. Scorsese is one of my all time favorite directors. This class is one I am taking to not only have fun, but to learn more about his auteur directing that makes his films spectacle.
Mafia films have always caught my attention. Especially Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas.” With “Goodfellas,” Warner Brothers became concerned since it contains extreme violence and language. The controversy also caused acknowledgments of being the worst preview response in the history of Warner Brothers. Scorsese even said, “The numbers were so low it was funny.” Scorsese did not make any changes to the movie (thank goodness for that because a crime thriller is not good without violence), he released this masterpiece, and Scorsese’s reputation of being a great filmmaker was increased.
This thriller is set in New York (home of the mafia classics). What the experience is like however, is like watching HBO’s “The Sopranos” (I know “Goodfellas” came along before “The Sopranos” but I did not experience “Goodfellas” until 2008, and now I watched it again and enjoyed it as much as I did six years ago). Only thing is that this mafia team is not the brightest. A gangster is involved with his gang and has a plan for a robbery. However, two other crime men kill everyone in a robbery, and the anarchy begins.
Ray Liotta is Henry Hill, the main character that takes part in a robbery. Robert DeNiro is James Conway, the man that recruits Hill to do some dirty work. Joe Pesci is Tommy DeVito, the third gangster teamed up with Hill and Conway. One mistake is made and all the blame is on Conway and DeVito; but Hill has a family and is at risk since he is in the mafia business. Not to mention his paranoid wife Karen Hill (played by Lorraine Bracco).
What captivated me the most with “Goodfellas” was its screenplay. Scorsese is known for having narrations by the main characters with his movies and that is an art; not just because the film is easier to understand, but it makes the audience feel they are part of the mafia era. The camera angles do a good job with helping us feel involved also. As Karen visits Henry in jail, the camera pans the misery that this crime family is in.
The film is two hours, and twenty-six minutes long. There were a few times when the film was a bit disorganized, but the screenplay, the setting, and the acting helps to find the action moments more attention grabbing.
Despite the disorganized moments, “Goodfellas” is extraordinary, intense, and involving—a must-see flick by Martin Scorsese.