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Martin Scorsese

By rbehm3
  • Birth

    Martin Scorsese was born in Queens, New York on November 17, 1942. His parents, Charles and Catherine were Sicilian immigrants and raised Martin in Manhattan’s Little Italy neighborhood. Growing up in this area, he witnessed much of the street life that was later depicted in his films. Being a small boy with asthma, he abandoned his original plans to enter the Catholic priesthood. Eventually he would attend New York University and graduate with a bachelor’s degree in English and an M.F.A. for
  • Birth (cont)

    Birth (cont)
    film. (Powers). This troubled and culturally rich beginnings as a youth would lead him to create some of the most iconic films of the last 40 years.
  • Vintage Scorsese and Raging Bull (1976- 1988):

    Vintage Scorsese and Raging Bull (1976- 1988):
    This decade would produce Scorsese’s most iconic and memorable works. His name would become synonymous with the Academy Awards and success in filmmaking. Taxi Driver (1976) would begin a mold for Scorsese’s classic style of film. The movie followed the life of a flawed, and psychopathic cab driver played by none other than Robert De Niro. In a quest for salvation from his twisted street life, some of the most unapologetic and violent drama of modern cinema was created. Many critics consider this
  • Raging Bull (cont)

    Raging Bull (cont)
    as the director’s best work. This iconic film would be followed up by Raging Bull (1980) and The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) (Powers). The former was nominated for eight Oscars including Best Picture and Best Actor in a Leading Role. De Niro won the Award for Best Actor for his role as middleweight boxer Jake LaMotta (“Raging Bull”).The film was commended for its depiction of the conflict between inner and outer demons. (Powers). It showed Scorsese’s style of maintaining film as an art form
  • Raging Bull (cont) II

    Raging Bull (cont) II
    without diluting it for Hollywood effects. The entire film was shot in black and white (Raging Bull Trailer). Contrastingly, Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ was heavily criticized by religious conservatives for its representation of Jesus Christ. The film showed a Roman-period Jesus who had internal conflict about his role as the Messiah. This flawed and tormented character was very similar to those from Raging Bull and
  • Raging Bull (cont) III

    Raging Bull (cont) III
    Taxi Driver. This style of character development would carry on into his later and more modern works (Powers).
  • Goodefellas (1990)

    Goodefellas (1990)
    The classic gangster film. Goodfellas is as authentic to the mobster life as the meatballs simmering in what the “Wise Guys” would call “gravy”. Us mortals would just call it marinara. The movie depicts the inner workings of the Italian mob during the 1980’s; a time when Brooklyn, New York was filled with none other than the “Goodfellas”. The movie follows the life of Brooklyn native Henry Hill, who from a young age wanted to become nothing other than a gangster.
  • Goodfellas (cont)

    Goodfellas (cont)
    Plagued with the flaw of only being half Italian, he was never allowed to be “fully made” by his fellow Sicilian mobsters. As described by The New York Times, “ ‘Goodfellas’ doesn't end. It crashes, with Henry, into the sobriety of the straight world. It disturbs, and even makes one think” (Canby).
  • Goodfellas (cont) II

    Goodfellas (cont) II
    The movie follows a similar mold to The Departed, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Taxi Driver in the sense that the film follows the life of a single character. The movie ebbs and flows with sporadic pace but the plot line doesn’t follow the typical mold of storytelling. Rock ‘n’ roll music to “comment” on the action of the movie, fast paced dialogue, and graphic violence are all techniques borrowed from his earlier works that are prevalent in this mobster movie.
  • Goodfellas (cont) III

    Goodfellas (cont) III
    The movie was nominated for six Oscars including Best Director and very well received by critics as usual (“Goodfellas”). The film was dark, violent, and intellectually stimulating from start to finish. Goodfellas is one of Scorsese’s best works as a director.
  • The Departed (2006)

    The Departed (2006)
    The film takes place in present day Boston and follows the careers of two young police cadets. The first, Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon), acts as a mole for an Irish gang run by Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson). Meanwhile, the other police cadet, Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio), acts as an informant for the police by infiltrating the same Irish gang. Throughout the plot of the movie the two characters’ fates became further intertwined as they try to cover their tracks.
  • The Departed (cont)

    The Departed (cont)
    Murders, drug deals, and even love interests all seem to be shared by the two men until they discover each other’s identities. In the end, a bloody shootout occurs when both characters end up with a bullet between their eyes (The Departed). The film seems to follow the lives of both men simultaneously without flaw. Neither the audience nor the characters can decide if their is any morality left in this twisted and complex relationship between mob and police.
  • The Departed (cont) II

    The Departed (cont) II
    Every character has something to hide, and every character has something to lose. The film follows a similar pattern to Goodfellas in its depiction of the mob. The Departed seems a bit more even paced and doesn’t seem to crash quite as hard as his other films. Scorsese seems to have seen the end of the pier and cannonballed into the water for this ending. With meticulous timing, this thoughtful, dark drama has enough comedy to lighten the mood while keeping viewers wanting more.
  • The Departed (cont) III

    The Departed (cont) III
    Every character has something to hide, and every character has something to lose. The film follows as similar pattern to Goodfellas in its depiction of the mob. The Departed seems a bit more even paced and doesn’t seem to crash quite as hard as his other films. Scorsese seems to have seen the end of the pier and cannonballed into the water for this ending. With meticulous timing, this thoughtful, dark drama has enough comedy to lighten the mood while keeping viewers wanting more.
  • The Departed (cont) IV

    The Departed (cont) IV
    While the film did win him the award for Best Director, some would claim it “has none of the depth of theme and character of his best work” (Powers). Scorsese’s films bring their share of critics, but there is no denying his staying power as a director. His knack for depicting violence in a graphic, yet authentic way makes the viewer sadistically hungry for more.
  • Shutter Island and Modern Scorsese (1990-2013):

    Shutter Island and Modern Scorsese (1990-2013):
    Scorsese’s success as a filmmaker since Goodfellas has been busy with countless films, but some would argue the quality has gone missing. Some critics claim his works such as Gangs of New York (2002) and Casino (1995) represent misfires in his career as a director. Whether it was a misunderstanding of the time period or that he "has exhausted his major themes” (Powers), more modern works of Scorsese’s have been met with sharper criticism.
  • Shutter Island (cont)

    Shutter Island (cont)
    While The Departed may have been a bright spot of late, his newer films have been less celebrated. The Wolf of Wall Street and Shutter Island scored 77% and 69% positive critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. Contrastingly, Hugo (2011) and The Departed scored 94% and 92% respectively, which is more in line with the reviews of his older movies (“Martin Scorsese.”).
  • Shutter Island (cont) II

    Shutter Island (cont) II
    As seen by the advertisement for Shutter Island, his name as a director still holds immense value in the film industry. On the poster for Shutter Island, the match-lit face of Leonardo DiCaprio glows above a storm stricken prison and the phrase “Someone is missing” (Shutter Island, Digital Image). Scorsese’s vision and intelligence as a director can be seen all over this poster and it represents he can go beyond his comfort zone of mob movies and East Coast dramas.
  • Shutter Island (cont) III

    Shutter Island (cont) III
    The movie also represents that even a director as powerful as Scorsese has had to make sacrifices to appease Hollywood studios. The 2010 film was originally slotted for an October 2009 release, but was pushed back because of budget cuts by Paramount Pictures. While the film did open to Scorsese’s largest ever grossing weekend of $40.2 million, it did take Scorsese and the film out of contention for the 2009 Academy Awards.
  • Shutter Island (cont) IV

    Shutter Island (cont) IV
    With Scorsese a frequent nominee and both DiCaprio and Ruffalo contenders for award recognition, this could not have been a popular idea (Barnes). Mr. Scorsese is one of the film society’s elite members, but even he has had to make concessions and take criticism in the modern industry.
  • The Wolf of Wall Street and His Legacy

    The Wolf of Wall Street and His Legacy
    Scorsese’s latest film, The Wolf of Wall Street, is one of his most controversial of late. The film follows the life of billionaire Jordan Belfort who gained his wealth by trading “penny stocks”. The film is much less about economic gains and more focused on his corruption and extremities as a character. The film is comprised of nudity, expletives, and hard drugs (The Wolf of Wall Street). While pushing the limits of its “R” rating, the film also has an intense comical and dramatic aspects.
  • Wolf of Wall Street (cont)

    Wolf of Wall Street (cont)
    It was vintage Scorsese in its analysis of modern society as well as the flaws that greed brings upon the wealthy. Commended with 5 Oscar nominations and an estimated $116 million gross worldwide, the film was a huge commercial success (“The Wolf of Wall Street”). With families and critics alike buzzing about the film in both positive and negative lights, Letterman had Scorsese on Late Night in late January 2014.
  • Wolf of Wall Street (cont) II

    Wolf of Wall Street (cont) II
    In his interview, Scorsese showed his glowing sense of humor as well as his respect for the film industry. Dave and Scorsese joked like old pals and even enjoyed the inside jokes. They also talked about Martin’s relationship with Jonah Hill, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Robert De Niro.
  • Wolf of Wall Street (cont) III

    Wolf of Wall Street (cont) III
    While Wolf may be a new environment for Mr. Scorsese, he has certainly earned the respect of the film community around the world. Even as his movies travel to new terrains, he still remains an innovator and artist in film direction.