146 Min | Biography – Crime – Drama | October 1990
IMDB Rating: 8.7
Director: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci
Goodfellas Review: A film (one I’m sure you’re all familiar with) charting the rise of Henry Hill, Goodfellas, story of a young man growing up in a neighbourhood in 1950s New Jersey, who is in awe of the wise guys who lurk in his neighbourhood and the respect and power they command. With low prospects and an abusive father, Henry can see no other way to go than to become one of them and we follow him on his journey as he becomes ingratiated in them, the crimes he carries out for them, his marriage that starts well before going disasterously off the rails, a spell in jail after a job gone wrong and finally where he goes wildly off the rails when he starts taking/dealing drugs and him finally ending up having to testify against his former friends when he becomes a liability to them and they put out a contract on his head, which is still in force today.
Robert De Niro. Ray Liotta. Joe Pesci. Three men with faces you wouldn’t want to mess with and all perfectly cast in the leading roles in Martin Scorsese’s legendary crime epic Goodfellas. All men are on fine form but, in ironically the lesser role, special mention to Pesci who steals the show as the wildly psychotic Tommy. Scorsese’s masterpiece was one of the first films to really make use of the camera in new ways, from the long, lingering shot to the still shot, used excellently at various points in the movie. These are usually complimented by a fine 50s soundtrack playing over them, with some real lingering melodies from that era.
The story of Goodfellas works on two levels, both enlighteningly as an expose of how the gangster world and the gangsters themselves actually have very similar philosophies and worries as normal 9-5 people (with regards to families and staying on top of the competition) as well as showing just why the attraction to that life is so great (hitting home most forcefully at the end when Henry is forced to acknowledge that he’ll have to lead the rest of his life like a ‘shnuck!’) and also engagingly as we watch a man rise from nothing to great heights only to lose it all again through his own bad choices and misguided loyalties. Indeed, as the film spans four decades, we do leave the film feeling as though we’ve known these characters for years.
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