Scorsese portrays the other side of 19th-century New York, the dirty, sweaty, pick-pocketing, back-stabbing (literally), hustling-for-your-life side of New York. This film acts as a pigeonhole for viewers to look into a forgotten, and barely recorded time. Vengeance and politics run as rampant through the streets as Cameron Diaz’s fingers over wealthy clad pedestrians, both claiming precious riches in their wake.
Scorsese’s rendition of Beauty and the Boxer. The geysers of blood and splattering spit pool in a mass representation of the American man’s nightmare. Jake LaMotta (Robert de Niro) embodies the self-made man, athletic, powerful, famous, who in turn unmakes himself through self doubt, paranoia and abuse of power.
Who better to illuminate societal anxiety and primordial human fears than a taxi driver? Scorsese brilliantly modifies the world to fit in a cab combining post-Watergate turmoil with personal alienation. De Niro’s performance is outstanding and makes the paradox between society’s guardian taxi driver to prostitute (Jodi Foster) paladin believable. On par with other Scorsese films, “Taxi Driver” is a powerful portrayal of reality, even if extremely jarring.
A combination of Scorsese’s ability to create a credible “based on a true story” film along with his infallible rise and fall formula, “Goodfellas” rivals “The Godfather” at the top of original gangster movies. The score combines with Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci’s breakout acting to generate the mood and emotional dependence of a cocaine addiction.
This triad of anxious psychology, pool shark (Paul Newman), protege (Tom Cruise) and girlfriend (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) break and bounce off each other like pool balls. Culminating in the final showdown, this film may be a little anticlimactic compared to other Scorsese masterpieces, but still manages to be a poignant commentary on underground life.
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