|Duration||2h 26m||Rating (UK)||18|
|Source of story||A book, Wiseguy, itself based on real events by Nicholas Pileggi|
|Writers/Script||Nicholas Pileggi, Martin Scorsese|
|Starring||Robert De Nero, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sovino, Tony Darrow, Frank Vincent, Debi Mazar, Michael Imperioli, Samuel L. Jackson,|
Elevator Pitch: A young man of Irish heritage, Henry Hill, is fascinated by the gangsters who hang out across the street from his home, and as soon as he is able he joins them as a runner and general gopher. Time passes and despite opposition from his parents he progresses in the local underworld, and makes friends with a fixer, Jimmy and a hit man, Tommy, and marries a girl from an entirely different background. Henry is involved in robberies and killings and Karen, his wife is gradually drawn into his lifestyle, her enjoyment of being rich overcoming her scruples. Later, as he becomes a drug dealer he feels under threat, but is he being paranoid, or are he and Karen in someone’s hit list?
Content: There is a lot of extreme violence and constant tension since there is no real knowing when one situation will turn into another. There is no nudity, but one curiously erotic scene as Karen shoves a short barrelled revover into her underpants. A lot of time spent in smoke filled rooms and dimly lit bars. Now and again the crew are arrested by the FBI and jailed. This allows Henry to become a drug dealer in prison. He and Karen fal out over Henry’s dallying with his mistress, but the eventually get together again.
A View: This was a film with impecable credentials, and was much liked by the critics. Joe Pesci won Best Actor in the 1991 Oscars and the film was nominated for many other awards. It is No 17 in the IMDb Top Rated Movies list. Many of the actors can be seen in other mob related films, most importantly for me Lorraine Bracco as Dr Jennifer Melfi in the Sopranos. However, I am not keen on movies which spend nearly all their time in the dark, and I don’t like a lot of shouting, so for these reasons, and the extreme violence, it was not really for me, but obviously I am in the minority.
Additional Info: Henry Hill’s testimony agains the Lucchese crime family resulted in over fifty convictions.