Martin Scorsese: In Focus
With the upcoming release of The Wolf of Wall Street (January 17th), featured below, we take a look back at the highlights in the filmography of the great Martin Scorsese.
Taxi Driver (1976)
One of Robert De Niro’s best performances, and his second career-defining collaboration with director Martin Scorsese, after Mean Streets (1973), sees him as a mentally unstable Vietnam war veteran working as a night-time taxi driver in New York City. However, he is unable to suppress his urges for violence in normal society and things quickly turn ugly. Also featuring a young Jodie Foster and Harvey Keitel, this remarkable film is held in high regard by critics and viewers alike, coming in at no. 70 on IMDb’s Top 250.
An absolute classic of the gangster genre, again featuring Robert De Niro, along with Joe Pesci and Ray Liotta, Goodfellas is a must have for any film aficionado’s collection. Scorsese’s direction and the stunning performances set a new benchmark for crime dramas, and this brutal tale of the rise of a young man up the mob hierarchy is certainly the director’s masterpiece, rightfully coming at no. 16 on IMDb’s Top 250.
The last of the director’s seven collaborations with Robert De Niro follows the battle between two mobster best friends (De Niro and Joe Pesci) over their gambling empire and the captivating Ginger (Sharon Stone). This film is not far behind the likes of Goodfellas and underlines Scorsese as a master of this genre, but he is by no means a one-trick-pony as shown by his forays into comedy with The King of Comedy (1982) and now the Wolf of Wall Street.
Gangs of New York (2002)
The first of his six collaborations with Leonardo DiCaprio sees Scorsese assemble one of his best casts, also featuring Daniel Day-Lewis, Cameron Diaz, Liam Neeson, Bredan Gleeson, Jim Broadbent and John C. Reilly. Set in 1863, the film follows Amsterdam Vallon (DiCaprio) as he returns to New York City seeking revenge against Bill the Butcher (Day-Lewis), who murdered his father. One of Scorsese’s lesser know films, that shows the versatility of the director and his staggering consistency spanning several decades.
The Departed (2006)
Winner of 4 Oscars, this clever and complex story revolves around two moles, one an undercover cop in the Irish mob (DiCaprio) and the other a mob mole in the police force (Matt Damon), who are both trying to identify each other before they are exposed. Based on Infernal Affairs (2002) from Hong Kong, many see this as Scorsese’s best film since Goodfellas and is one of my personal favourites from the last few years. Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen and Ray Winstone complete the cast, with one of the defining features also being the awesome soundtrack, including this.
Shutter Island (2010)
Scorsese’s most recent success is a psychological thriller which follows U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) as he investigates the disappearance of an escaped patient from a hospital for the criminally insane. This dark film delivers intriguing twists and a noteworthy performance from DiCaprio, who continues his wait for an Oscar win and it remains to be seen whether he can break his Oscars hoodoo with The Wolf of Wall Street.
Honorable mentions for The Aviator (2004), Cape Fear (1991), Raging Bull (1980) which also come highly recommended.