Martin Scorsese is a director who in many ways has influenced the way American cinema is today. He gave us a special romantic vision of gangsters running their own business, gambling that influenced the entire gambling industry, including online blackjack Canada casinos and games, as well as themes of non-conformism, violence, and human relationships. He was, and still is, one of the outstanding creators who shaped the “New Hollywood.” Between 1917 and the early 1960s there was a “Classic Hollywood” paradigm in which films were made according to the dominant aesthetic, genre, and narrative formulas, and characters were types with understandable motivations.
In October 1973, at the New York International Film Festival, the world saw Mean Streets, a film that many audiences mistakenly call the great director’s debut. But for Martin, it was his third film in a row, not counting several short films. We tell you how and about what Scorsese shoots, what techniques he uses, how he humanizes his antiheroes and praises his native New York.
He Shoots, He Scores
Martin Scorsese is one of those directors who started to perfect his style from his very first work. All his distinctive features were present in the film Who’s Knocking at My Door? and only improved and developed in the following films.
I New York
Oddly enough, the hallmark of almost all of Scorsese’s films is New York. He constantly shows the small streets of the neighborhoods where he himself grew up. At the same time, all the main action in this city unfolds precisely at night, showing violence, murder, and poverty. At the same time, Scorsese does not try to show the city in a positive light, but on the contrary, he tries to show all of its worst vices and make it as unattractive for the viewer as possible.
Rapid and Freeze Frame
Two of the director’s favorite techniques, which he uses in each of his films. Mostly, the director uses slow motion on two occasions:
- To show the main character’s future sweetheart. By doing so, the director sort of singles out the girl for the main character, thereby making her perfect.
- Just to show what is cool for the heroes.
In freeze frames, it is as if the director is forcing the viewer to study the frame more and better while telling the entire exposition of the story and scene in parallel.
Such techniques are used mainly for one thing–to show the significance of the moment to the character.
The Eyes According to Scorsese
Another famous Scorsese gimmick. Often it is from a close-up of the eyes that open some pictures of the director.
In doing so, the shots carry two functions. One is to show the character’s reaction to what is happening in the next frame. The other, to break the invisible fourth wall. At the same time, the character looks directly into the frame, flirting with the viewer.
One of the latest examples of such a technique is Leonardo Dicaprio’s character from the movie “The Wolf of Wall Street”. The hero is not just looking at the camera, and talks directly and plays with facial expressions. This flirts with the viewer and lures him to his side.
The World Through Mirrors
In Scorsese, a mirror reflection is a tool of learning the hero’s psychology. At the same time, this technique is used especially often to show the turning point in the hero’s fate. The characters not only look into the reflection but also have a conversation with it. Thus revealing themselves and deciding important issues.
This can be fateful decisions or a conversation with the inner self. In general, all the things that ordinary viewers do when they feel bad, or when they don’t know what to do. In this way, viewers further relate themselves to the hero and his story on the screen.
Martin Scorsese’s Top 5 Films
1. Taxi Driver (1976)
The movie Taxi Driver is about a marine, Travis Bickle. The man has chronic insomnia, which no medication can cure. So Travis decides to use his ailment for work and gets a job as a cab driver. Everyone the main character meets during his shift has his own experiences and his own story. Injustice and crime force Travis Bickle to take up arms.
In this film, Martin Scorsese undoubtedly showed his talent. The director masterfully conveyed through the film the loneliness of the protagonist, his experiences, and pain. That’s why the plot of Taxi Driver reveals to the audience not so much the violence, but the tragic fate of one man.
2. Raging Bull (1980)
Collaboration between Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro stretched over many years. But the film Raging Bull is special for both representatives of Hollywood. All because this film could not be, because Martin Scorsese did not want to make it. In 1978, the director almost died of a drug overdose. Then supported his friend Robert De Niro, who persuaded him to make a film about a man who destroyed his life by himself.
The film will tell the story of the famous boxer Jake LaMotta, who was called the Bronx Bull because of his aggressiveness. And if in the ring his tough character helped the athlete, in his personal life only harmed him. Jake was jealous of his wife and constantly suspected her of cheating. And that would inevitably lead to the destruction of Lamott’s everyday life.
3. After Hours (1985)
Everyone in Hollywood already knew Martin Scorsese as a creator of dramas with a criminal plot. But the director decided to surprise the audience, presenting in 1982 the film The King of Comedy. After 3 years, Scorsese has prepared for the audience another comedy After Hours, which has received rabid popularity.
The film is about one night in the SoHo district of New York. Programmer Paul stays late at work and leaves the office later, unaware of how dangerous a night awaits him. And it all starts with meeting an attractive girl. The date turns into a suicide attempt by the beauty, and Paul gets caught up in the maelstrom of New York nightlife, full of gangsterism and danger.
In fact, the comedy After Hours is very special in the work of Martin Scorsese, because here the director himself parodies his style. The film has both romance and the dangerous mafia and crime that covers the night city. However, all this is mixed with irony, which turns into a farce.
4. Goodfellas (1990)
The movie Goodfellas has become a Hollywood classic, so every movie lover has already managed to watch it. And if you haven’t done it yet, you have a great opportunity to catch up.
The film is about Henry Hill, who has been helping the mob since his high school years. At first, the boy ran small errands that did not attract the attention of the police, but as an adult, Henry has already joined a criminal gang and got his role in it. Brutal and opinionated, and also a very attractive gangster, he brought terror to New York.
The plot in this film by Martin Scorsese became more global, and the director used new techniques. For example, one of the big dialogues was shot in one take, which became a benchmark in the world of cinema.
5. The Departed (2006)
After decades of work in Hollywood, Martin Scorsese finally won a well-deserved Oscar. It happened thanks to the drama The Departed, which was a good start for a long collaboration with Leonardo DiCaprio. And although the director and the actor began working with the film Gangs of New York, it was this film that showed the incredible versatility of their talent.
The film The Departed tells the story of two of the best graduates of the police academy, receiving radically different jobs. One gets a lawman in the head office and the leaking of strategic information to a criminal mastermind, and the other working undercover for the same mob, while always on the verge of exposure. What will their hunt for each other lead to, viewers will see in an unpredictable thriller.
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