Tuesday, December 13, 2011


A New Generation Carries on an Old Tradition
On the nineteenth Lynchian day of Christmas, we present Martin Scorsese's innovative mafia movie Goodfellas (1990). A significant Christmas party after the Lufthansa Heist contrasts sharply with the greedy murders of most the teammates. Although he is a filmmaker of diverse tastes, Scorsese frequently adds Lynchian layers of abstraction to his films, particularly his Dalai Lama biopic Kundun (1997). But Goodfellas penetrates deeply into the light and dark sides of the criminal underworld, demonstrating what attracts otherwise normal people into its alluring snare. And like Lynch, Scorsese does not shy away from showing the self-destructive flip side to this dark coin that shatters many dreams and lives in its wake.
Scorsese expertly navigates between genres, his current films in theaters being a touching family film Hugo (2011), which extols the virtues of friendship, magic, automatons, and historical film preservation. And in Goodfellas, each frame explodes in the pure language of cinema and is widely considered Scorsese's greatest tour d'force on screen. From Ray Liotta's sympathetic first-person narration to Joe Pesci's explosive volatility, every character feels real and distinctly flawed. Robert DeNiro's coldly cunning performance was one of his best, as is Lorraine Bracco's turn as a memorably jealous mobster wife. Even smaller roles in the film are filled with great, then underutilized actors like Samuel L. Jackson.

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