This week sees the release of Shutter Island, a dark, spooky film about an investigation into the disappearance of a patient from an insane asylum. While it’s not Martin Scorsese's best picture, it certainly brings some striking (if not a little predictable) gut punches. Not since Cape Fear has Scorsese really attempted to creep us out, and in my opinion that’s way too long for a filmmaker who’s in love with all things Hitchcock (but that argument we’ll save for another time).
The Five: Best Martin Scorsese Films
Regardless, Scorsese has had an amazing career that continues to impress as the man becomes older and wiser. Whether it’s a gangster, a boxer or a pilot, Scorsese will always show you a good time. Here, in my opinion, are his five best films:
1. Goodfellas – The film that brought a very real and contemporary touch to the mobster genre, Goodfellas was brilliantly shot (how about that classic one-shot through the kitchen?) and well-acted (Joe Pesci's quotes are alone enough reason to watch), and to this day remains one of Scorsese’s most popular (and well respected) movies.
2. Taxi Driver – Featuring Robert De Niro in one of his more subtle, weirder roles, Taxi Driver was gritty, grimy and a little unsanitary in its depiction of a taxi driver who’s slowly losing it. But that’s why we love it.
3. The Departed – A different kind of mobster movie for Scorsese, this Oscar winner played on both sides of the tracks and followed the lives of two men, a mobster and a cop, undercover in the other one’s shoes trying to be the first one to find the other before they’re found out. Charismatic performances and a twisty, edge-of-your-seat script won this film a lot of praise, and it helped give Scorsese some much-deserved honors.
4. Raging Bull – Always remembered for its moody black-and-white attitude, Raging Bull was another film where Robert De Niro was able to explore and play around with character. Here, he played a boxer whose life slowly self-destructs around him; a performance that eventually earned him a Best Actor Oscar (the film was nominated for a total of 8)
5. Cape Fear – Not to sound like a broken record, but here we are with another Robert De Niro film. Probably the last time we could expect De Niro to be able to pull off brutal and scary, Cape Fear also marked a slight departure in tone for Scorsese, whose fetish for insane men was brought front and center here. And who doesn’t love the sweet-but-not-so-innocent Juliette Lewis in one of her best roles?
What are your favorite Scorsese films?
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Erik DavisFandango Bloggers
Erik is a leading movie commentator who has worked for outlets such as AOL Moviefone and Movies.com.