First off, sorry for the delayed posting. While I’ve been watching movies, none of them were good enough to post about (Antonia’s Line and Millennium Actress). I finally watched a movie worth posting about. I saw Goodfellas last week for my Italian Cinema class. I loved it, to say the least. Even though it promotes the Italian stereotypes it was funny, gritty, intense, sexy and eye-opening (since it’s a true story).
Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) is a small time gangster who absolutely embraces the lifestyle. He loves everything it has to offer and tries his best to climb the ranks. His main partners are Tommy (Joe Pesci) and Jimmy (Robert De Niro). Tommy is a crazy guy who kills anyone who even looks at him wrong. This causes many problems for the tight-knit group of gangsters. Jimmy is also a very intense gangster who eventually betrays Henry somewhat, but I guess you could say they all betray each other. Henry meets Karen (Lorraine Bracco) who also loves the gangster world, in fact it turns her on. They marry and seem to be happy until Henry gets more absorbed in the mob-mindset. There are a lot smaller scenes I could summarize but that would take away from your viewing, but basically drugs, sex and killing, well that probably wasn’t a surprise.
Liotta was superb in this film. I’ve loved him as an actor for a long time. His portrayal of Henry Hill was chilling. He illustrated the downward spiral that is the gangster lifestyle. It becomes all-encompassing and Henry can’t escape all the sexy things it has to offer, i.e. lots of cocaine, money and sex. Bracco did a fabulous job. It was good to see her in a larger role since I only know her from “The Sopranos.” The viewer could really feel Karen Hill’s pain because at the begining I was just as wrapped up in the lifestyle and it’s hard to step outside the box. De Niro is always stunning in these gangster roles and this was no exception. Pesci, Bracco, Paul Sorvino and Debi Mazar all played their roles very well. I always love seeing Mazar, since the days of Beethoven’s 2nd. Goodfellas was only Mazar’s second film role, so it definitely helped her get her start.
Martin Scorsese (The Departed, Raging Bull, Taxi Driver) directed this film. That basically speaks for itself, but I will reiterate that this man knows both cinema and Italian culture very well. I thought is was cute he even gave his parents a small role in the film. The soundtrack of the film also added a lot to the film.