As far back as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to write a Goodfellas review. I’ve always been a fan of the crime genre, and a lot of that has to do with this classic Martin Scorsese film which chronicles the life of Henry Hill, an Irish Italian kid growing up in Brooklyn and obsessed with being in the mob, working his way up the ranks. Welcome to this week’s Flashback Friday.
Of all the Scorsese films – and there is a lot of them – Goodfellas is my favourite. Mostly because this story romanticises the mob, only to show how merciless and dangerous the life of a mobster can become. It shows the rise and fall, the love and heartache of Henry’s dysfunctional relationship with the mob.
Goodfellas stars Ray Liotta as Henry Hill, who comes up with his two very literal partners in crime: James Conway (Robert De Niro) and Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci). What was great about the casting was the fact that although the script is adapted from the novel “Wise Guy” – it was as though these characters were written with these three actors in mind.
Liotta with loose morals, trying (and succeeding) to talk his way out of trouble; De Niro oozing cool and confident, and Pesci the very embodiment of loud, irrational and crazy. It was only ever going to be captivating performances and all three actors brought their A game, with the chemistry between the three of them also quite evident.
For those of you who have not seen the film, it has a lot of voiceovers. What should have been criticised as a weak element of the film, turned out to be quite a useful and acceptable device given that Henry Hill is literally giving a testimony of what happened during those years. But the best part is that we get a voiceover from his wife Karen Hill, played by Lorraine Bracco.
Some of the shots in this film has been paid homage to since it premiered in 1990, with films such as Swingers, replicating the “walking through the kitchen to avoid the line” scene and TV shows like Community doing parodies of film, complete with voice-overs and a borrowed score.
Fantastic dialogue, unique humour, obscene violence and plenty of swearing. This film is so Scorsese it’s ridiculous.