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A Textual Analysis Of The Martin Scorscese Film Goodfellas

1664 words - 7 pages

Understanding Film Shane GladstoneAnalytical Essay on any Scorsese Film: (Goodfellas, 1990)In the year 1990 Warner Bros released a motion picture titled Goodfellas. Directed by Martin Scorsese, the narratives main strand dealt with the issue of a misguided youth enjoying his rites of passage from within the inner sanctum of the Italian gangland of the early sixties New York. The narrative continues in a narrated biographical form, following the protagonist through highs and lows before eventually reaching a cocaine induced downfall at the climax of the 1970's.The scenes that I have chosen to discus within the context of my essay will provide the reader with an insight into the un-orthodox lifestyles enjoyed by our protagonist and his comrades.The opening scene I have chosen portrays the protagonist Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) and Tommy Devito (Joe Pesci) performing grand theft auto at an airport. From here the narrative flows into the next scene. In this scene Henry acquaints us with his underworld clique from within the location of a restaurant.The opening of the airport scene presents the viewer with an E/S of the airport and a non-diegetic text informing the audience of the scenes setting (Idlewild). We then cut to a C/U of a man's smart footwear. The camera performs an upward tilt from the shoes to reveal Henry before tracking back to show Tommy and their current surroundings. They are leant against a car in the car park of a fifties/sixties style diner. This confirms the anchorage date line of 1963 shown at the beginning of the film. The black suits are intertextually reminiscent of classic film noir and also give off notions of confidence, authority, class and menace. In the aforementioned upward tilt, Henrys significance is also reinforced. The camera then pans around to reveal the truck and follows the driver as he gets out and walks towards the diner. We see this through the eyes of Henry. This gives the audience a feel of voyeurism and puts the truck driver at risk. When he reaches the place at which Tommy and Henry are standing the camera changes direction, tailing them as they approach the truck. This shot provides the end of the take and the camera cuts to the driver sat in the diner. The diner's set has been designed in the style of a classic sixties diner (Happy Days) this reinforces peoples stereotypes and puts them at ease by providing them with what they expect. The camera tails the driver as he steps into the car park only to realise his truck has been stolen. The camera then follows him as he runs into the diner to use the telephone. Daytime provides the backdrop for this scene. This is a subtle way of demonstrating just how powerful these underworld figures are: they have the power required to perform grand theft auto in broad daylight, right underneath the driver's nose.Scorsese's use of contrapuntal sound is displayed in this scene. The truck driver's obvious anger and state is not matched by the music, which is soulful and...

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