Goodfellas This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   "GoodFellas" is an unopiniated look at the mob, which in itself is something fresh for mafia movies. Some portray them as heroes, or scum, or special creatures who can survive anything until the obvious downfall of their empire at the end of the film. One thing about the "Godfather" films that annoyed me so much was that the view of a gangster's life was so grim. "GoodFellas" spits at this idea and gives the characters real lives, not the fabrications that are so evident in something like the terrible "Once Opon a Time in America," "GoodFellas" is so real that it is almost too real.

With the exception of David Lynch, "GoodFellas" director Martin Scorsese is the top filmmaker currently working. His films ATaxi Driver," "Raging Bull, " "The King of Comedy" and my personal favorite, "After Hours" will all be remembered as classics in years to come. "GoodFellas" does not belong in the same category, but it is still probably the best mafia film ever made.

"GoodFellas" is the true story of Henry Hill, whose story starts in 1955, and ends in 1981, when the mafia he belongs to is dissolved. Through Henry's (Ray Liotta) narration, we learn that his dream was to be with the mafia. Through a "Radio Days" like rundown by Henry, which is full with humor, we see his rise to power, eventually to the number four position in the group. We meet the Godfather, Don Ciecero (Paul Sorvino), and his top men, James Conway (Robert De Niro, who, despite the advertising, is not the lead in this film), and Tommy De Vito (Joe Pesci, in the best acting job of the year that I have seen). These guys pull off big robberies, and there is alot of bloodshed, but it is handled responsibly.

These gangsters really have the good life, until 1970, when they are arrested and put in jail for four years. After this, Henry's life goes downhill, and he loses the firm control he previously had. He cheats on his wife, Karen (Lorraine Bracco) with two different women, and he develops an addiction to cocaine.

In 1978, they steal six million dollars in the famous Lufthansa heist, things really being to fall apart. Inside the complex organization, it is decided that several key members must be killed for the money to be "protected." In 1981, Henry is captured and spills his guts. He is put in the witness protection program, and his life as a gangster is effectively over.

"GoodFellas" is not anything like I thought it would be. It is very funny, and five minutes don't go by without something hysterical happening. The performances in general are very good, although Robert De Niro does not add anything special. It doesn't seem like his heart was in this one. It's important to add that this is Scorsese's most group-oriented film. De Niro seemsbest when he is the source of anything that happens, like in his best perfomance, "Taxi Driver."

I recommend "GoodFellas," although I wouldn't call it the best film of the year. "GoodFellas" doesn't have Scorsese's common discipline, but it is a fresh change from his other work.

Note: There is a rather large amount of blood in a couple scenes, and it is very realistic. If this easily offends you, stay away from "GoodFellas."n




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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mplo said...
Jul. 17, 2016 at 10:28 am
Thanks for a wonderful review on a good, well-done movie, Doug. Martin Scorcese shows his directing ability beautifully in "Goodfellas", and it had me on the edge of my seat, from beginning to end.
 
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