Movie Review – Goodfellas

Posted: June 2, 2013 in Movie Reviews
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Goodfellas is yet another crime drama by King Scorsese. By this time the duo of De Niro and Joe Pesci had become so famous that their charm alone was enough to pull crowd to the theatres. This movie had a might addition in the form of Ray Liotta, reminds us of the famous character Jack LaMotta isn’t it. This green eyed boy wonder made an excellent use of this opportunity sharing space between these two legends. He’s in fact given more screen space than the other two. That’s understandable because we see the film through his eyes. Scorsese’s narration style of film making continues even with this film.


I watched L.A. Confidential first. The way lead characters are portrayed in both the films are kind off similar. Though Ray Liotta is a skeptical, under confident guy in crime scene compared to other starwalts Joe Pesci and De Niro he’s not a loser like Guy Pearce in L.A. Confidential. But beneath the surface both these characters core mentality is the same. They want to be big. That’s how they want to be.  That’s why they act confident, try to be a hero but always frightened whether something terrible is on the offing. Such poor souls…

The way Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) starts narrating the story, “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster” sets the mood of the movie just beautifully. It’s one of the most heroic yet childish lines which I loved very much. This gangster fascination is always a subject which I like. What we see on screen is not the ideal way a gangster lives, there are a lot of intricacies involved in their life but the level of heroism they exhibit could be matched to none. Even if they get caught, beaten by cops or die on a street fight they still look heroic. They don’t get beaten like a puppy. It’s one brave thing, how the way they die.

The style of this movie is just similar to Casino. Starts with a voice over, takes you to the highs and low of character and end up being a loser (according to them). Henry Hill is one such guy who wants to do substantial in his life. He chooses the gangsters way to be substantial, he gets a girl friend who again becomes addicted to this sort of pleasure. She loves it when every function of theirs happens together between them and only them. She likes the respect she gets out of fear. Like Henry even she doesn’t realize that all good things that come in a wrong way come to an end. Her life is screwed once Henry chooses a mistress. She gets hyper but knowing the way they live she should’ve sensed it.

Even though Henry is the main character its Tommy who provides the much needed charm for this movie. There are two exceptional scenes which seem to have been written only for him. The first, where he almost has Henry Hill and the second, the waiter scene. I loved the first one because it happens without us knowing what Tommy is up to and it’s a dig straight against the lead guy. It’s least expected and more enjoyed. The second one is more of a gang affair which everyone loves. The way De Niro teases Pesci was treat to watch. Of all the films that they both have acted together their bonding seemed to be strong in this movie. They exhibited a genuine concern for each other here.

The whole organized crime seems to be fantasy world lived by these characters. There would have been a lot of research to make the movie this perfect. It’s not easy to make a blood ridden, anxious life of gangster like a fairytale where we could sit and hoot. Pileggi, the writer deserves a special mention of this. Without this script Goodfellas wouldn’t have been a movie which is now.

Goodfellas is a celebration of gangster lives. What we see here is a cinematic version of a gangster life. It’s like an orchestra, a well choreographed stage ballet where actors dance to the tunes of the director, the characters here dance to the tune of their fate. Even though we love all these characters while watching the movie did we ever sympathize with anyone when they die? We enjoyed the violence when Joe Pesci shoots the waiter but we kept mum while Joe Pesci was shot. It doesn’t mean we sympathized with him. It just means that we’ve lost a clown who made us happy. Only that much respect we had for them. And that’s the intention of the movie. If violence had not been shown so graphically Joe Pesci would have ended up being a hero who sacrificed his life for his friend. Though he sacrifices his life for his friends we appreciate him only for his honesty and not for what he does in his day to day life. What we should understand is always we and them are different. Period.


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