Goodfellas (1990) 5/5 (2)


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Rating: The Good – 85.8
Genre: Gangster
Duration: 146 mins
Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci

Martin Scorsese’s epic gangster film dramatises the true-life story of Henry Hill (played wonderfully by Ray Liotta) who together with his mentor Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro) and long-time accomplice Tommy (Joe Pesci), rise through the ranks of the Mafia as “Goodfellas”. Goodfellas’ major strength is how well it makes the viewer feel part of the world the mobsters live in. The film spans from the late 1950′s to the late 1980′s and Scorsese’s use of era-specific music, together with the immaculate set and costume design, transports the audience to whatever decade the action is taking place in. This is helped by the realness of the characters which are brought to life through Nicholas Pileggi and Scorsese’s deeply insightful script and the sublime acting from all concerned. Pesci’s incendiary performance as the utterly unhinged Tommy typically gets all the plaudits but he is matched by Liotta, De Niro, and Lorraine Bracco as Hill’s wife. In fact, one could argue that Liotta and Bracco’s performances are those with the most depth and range and, on top of that, they work together on screen especially well. In addition to telling a great story, Goodfellas is also great fun to watch, laced as it is with Scorsese’s trademark flourishes from the skip-framed shots of the Billy Batts hit to the renowned tracking shot of Liotta and Bracco entering the Copa. It’s a modern masterpiece of storytelling and film innovation and one you will find yourself going back to time and time again.

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