Monday, October 4, 2010

Mean Streets

Originally uploaded by janvaneyck
Let me emphatically say the I love Mean Streets. The very first time I saw this film was in a 70’s film genre class and I remember being riveted to my seat, but when the lights came up it was apparent that I was one of the only people of the 30+ film students that were.

This still mystifies me.

Mean Streets is a different Scorsese than we would get if we walk into a theatre today. It’s more raw, chaotic and carefree – yet it is in essence the very thing that led up to Travis Bickle and even the men of Scorsese’s modern work. This is a film about a New York that’s crumbling but loved, affluent but poor, artistic yet visceral, masculine and familial. All of these things are the very essence of what makes a Scorsese film Scorsese.

As you would imagine, the real standout element to Mean Street is the element that most people remember Scorsese for in his films even now – his leading man. Scorsese’s muse may now be Leonardo DiCaprio, but DiCaprio’s way was paved by none other than Scorsese’s original muse Robert DeNiro. Mean Streets was the first collaboration between Scorsese & DeNiro and it’s immediately evident why they worked together for so long. In a film where Scorsese knows exactly what he’s doing, DeNiro is the one element that absolutely shines as though he were made for that world.

I really can’t say a lot about Mean Streets because I truly believe it’s a film that should be discovered by the viewer. It’s a film that helped define one of the most prominent directors of the Hollywood pantheon and a film that entices you to see more.

Director: Martin Scorsese

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