Martin Scorsese 101: Classic Scorsese After a few false starts, Scorsese established himself as a singular talent with 1973’s Mean Streets, a deeply personal film on two fronts. First off, Mean Streets’ story of a devoutly religious young man (played by Harvey Keitel) grappling with the obligations of his family, his faith, his job, and his loyalty to his friends (including one chronic fuck-up played by Robert De Niro) was drawn from what Scorsese had seen outside his own window, and what he’d experienced in his own life. Secondly, Mean Streets’ mix of tough-guy posturing, cinematic playfulness, and docu-realism fused some of Scorsese’s biggest influences—Warner Brothers’ crime pictures, Federico Fellini, and John Cassavetes, respectively—and showed that movie-making needn’t be so ideologically rigid, that the experimental could co-exist with the classical and the verité. For the remainder of his career, Scorsese would constantly rejigger the balance of those elements, but would keep them all in play, always. And though he’s put himself in service of other people’s stories more often than not, he’s retained a touch of “that guy who made Mean Streets” in nearly everything he’s made since. The greatest films are often described as the result of a group… Read full this story
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