For such an icon, Scorsese is fairly tricky to pin down. What threads, if any, connect his various, distinctive films? Is he more fascinating a director because of commonalities between his films or divergences?
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A compact 94 minutes, Heaven Knows What is a movie with feverish drive, dragged this way and that by Harley’s appetites and Ilya’s whim to carrot-on-a-stick her around with the promise of reciprocal affection. Throughout, the perspective commutes regularly between swooning intimacy and bystander detachment.
The film opened fifteen months and nine furious days after September 11, 2001, when there was still a gaping wound in the ground, when regardless of whatever could be done “to build this city up again,” it was “mightily” and irrevocably changed.
Considering that Perry identifies as a hardcore cinephile, his style is surprisingly performance-driven: his work prioritizes dialogue and the close-up. This isn’t to say his movies, with their staunch commitment to celluloid, aren’t beautiful to look at, but that his voice comes through via the accumulation of emotion rather than flourish.
The film remains an outlier, ignored by programmers of two recent Scorsese retrospectives in New York and the public alike. Clearly, Bringing Out the Dead does not need to be rescued from oblivion; it needs to be resuscitated. Let's start by calling it a comedy.
With Jauja Alonso follows the ever-widening orbit his films have been tracing even further, nudging his trademark concerns away from the largely observational, vaguely romantic cinema of his earlier work into something considerably more expansive, playful, even supernatural.
Goodfellas is a nervy blast—nostalgia-soaked, endlessly quotable, and oddly fun even as it grinds toward a tragic drug-addled end. Casino, both chillier and more hothouse by turns, nauseatingly violent and deeply, woefully sad, is no one’s idea of a good time.
The Age of Innocence is as brutal a film as anything in Scorsese’s filmography—and it is also just as kinetic. His camera is constantly in motion, insinuating itself between characters, panning, tilting, and tracking from faces to walls to plates of food to silverware to fine china.
The first half of the film moves in simple chronological order, but as Saint Laurent begins to break down emotionally, so too does the film’s careful construction, entering the subject’s point of view and moving fluidly through past, present, and future.
Timbuktu stands on its own as a humanistic portrayal of a dehumanizing occupation. And though the film may not declare its international affiliations in a way satisfying to a handful of shortsighted journalists, the world is nevertheless very present within the film.