Biography | Crime | Drama
Henry Hill and his friends work their way up through the mob hierarchy.
"As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster. To me, being a gangster was better than being President of the United States."
Martin Scorsese is hailed by many as the greatest living American filmmaker, but with the passing of Swedish master auteur Ingmar Bergman in 2007, I would argue that Scorsese is the greatest living filmmaker in the world. "Goodfellas" is a perfect example of the brilliance of Scorsese, as he takes his audience inside a world that is often misunderstood by the general population.
The film feels unbelievably authentic, not just because it's based on actual events, but because Scorsese understands this world as well as any filmmaker ever could. Growing up on the streets of Manhattan's Lower East Side, Scorsese had plenty of exposure to the violent world of the "Mafia." Scorsese understands better than anyone the destructive nature of the "mafia" lifestyle, but he also understands how appealing it can be. That is what makes "Goodfellas" such an incredibly powerful film, the fact that the characters are not portrayed as one-dimensional villains, but are presented as ordinary men who have been seduced by the lifestyle from an early age.
Scorsese does a masterful job of creating a world where death seems like an inevitability. The famous "Funny Guy" scene is one of the most powerful scenes in movie history because it so effectively captures the volatility of the mafia lifestyle. The truth is, your best friend one day, can become your worst enemy the next. Nothing gets in the way of business, and as a result, friendships are of secondary importance. No filmmaker is better at probing the psyches of violent men than Scorsese. He burrows into the world of the mafia and doesn't attempt to sugarcoat it, which results in a film that is incredibly violent and profane, but never gratuitous.
"Goodfellas" is not only a masterpiece and one of the greatest films of the 1990s, but it is further proof that Martin Scorsese is a filmmaker of incomparable talent.
Have you seen it? If so, what's your opinion?