(Dir. Martin Scorsese) (1990)
Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) – by Irish Dad out of Sicilian Mom – doesn’t get school at all. He’d rather hang around and run errands for the local gonifs. And for about 30 years, it pays, but all bad things must come to an end.
Probably Marty’s best film, a generational gangster saga both comedic and dramatic. Full of rich characterisation and smart, funny performances, authentic violence, amoral fun, and brilliantly directed.
There are many truly inspired set pieces, such as the long tracking shot where Henry takes his girl Karen to a nightclub via the tradesman’s entrance; the bar-room ‘argument’ between psychotic Tommy (Joe Pesci) and a made guy; or the sequence (to the sound of Layla) where Jimmy Conway’s (Robert De Niro) accomplices turn up all over town (in serious but not urgent need of medical attention).
There’s wonderful use of music to convey the passing years and a remarkably intimate and believable snapshot into the underworld. Long, yes; overlong, arguably, but TVC wasn’t bored at all. We were too busy remembering the two golden rules: “Never rat on your friends, and always keep your mouth shut.”