‘GoodFellas’ portrays violence and the dealings of the Italian mob
Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 21:02
Based on a true story, Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) grows up living around the Italian mob and eventually is chosen to work for them. There he meets his two best friends, James Conway (Robert De Niro) and Tommy Devito (Joe Pesci).
Directed by Martin Scorsese, this top notch mobster flick follows the lives of the three best friends throughout their life in the Italian mob — begining with them as everyday shmucks and shoe-shiners to them working their way up to become some of the most respected men in town.
Most of their dealings involve robbery and racketeering until drugs come into play, which puts Henry in a very compromising situation in which he must decide if he should look after himself or to stick to the code of never betraying your friends.
“GoodFellas” is arguably the greatest mobster movie of all time. Not to bring down classics like “The Godfather,” but “GoodFellas” takes a more realistic and more hands-on approach through the underdog’s eyes, rather than the top-of-the-food chain characterization of Michael Corleone.
Also, one of the best aspects of “GoodFellas” is that this is based on a real account of the life of the character Henry Hill. The movie gives you a realistic sense of the way that the mob operates from a soldier’s point of view.
The acting is at the height of its game, with the ever popular Robert De Niro, and a surprisingly terrific performance by Ray Liotta. I will say that the driving force behind this film is the character of Tommy, who is played by Joe Pesci.
If Joe Pesci was ever meant to be an actor, then he was born to play the role of a mafia gangster. The chemistry between the three characters is unlike any other performance, and the movie is so well-written that you forget that you are watching a movie and get engrossed in the characters’ lives.
Although the film mainly follows the three male friends, it does provide an in-depth look at the wife of Henry’s character, Karen Hill (played by Lorraine Bracco). Her struggles show what it is like to be the wife of a mobster and how to interact with everyone else that is associated with that lifestyle.
There are also several other interesting characters — as well one of my personal favorites, the powerful Paul Cicero played by the Italian actor Paul Sorvino. Martin Scorsese is at the top of his game and is doing what he does best, and that is an all-around good gangster film. I could not find anything wrong with this movie; it is truly an excellent film from beginning to end.
The cast and the script could not have been better, and it does an exceedingly good job of pacing the film from one part of their lives to the next, whereas some films try to do the same but wind up skipping too many of some parts while relying too heavily on other parts.
Even if the gangster film genre is not your thing, I strongly recommend giving “GoodFellas” a shot. There are so many iconic and breathtaking scenes in this movie from the violence to the dealings of the Italian mob.
I give “GoodFellas” a strong 5 out of 5 stars for being, in my opinion, the best mobster film ever made.