Mean Streets was the movie that established Martin Scorsese as one of the greatest filmmakers of his generation, and set him on the path to cinematic immortality. If Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather took the Mafiosi to mythic levels, Scorsese’s Mean Streets brought them back to the 'streets' – incidentally the only place, according to Charlie, the principal protagonist of the movie (played by Harvey Keitel) and the director’s alter-ego, where you pay for your sins. A loose companion piece to Scorsese’s fascinating debut feature Who’s That Knocking at My Door?, the movie has been heavily inspired from the director’s personal experiences of growing up in Little Italy, the Italian-American community in New York. Told through the eyes of its guilt-ridden anti-hero, the movie manages to provide apowerful kaleidoscopic view to the grimy underbelly of one of the world’s greatest metropolises, while at the same time touch upon themes ranging from Catholic beliefs to loyalty, blood or otherwise. The standout feature of the movie is, without doubt, Robert De Niro, who, as the volatile and downright crazy Johny Boy, doesn’t just set mailboxes on fire, but also sets the screen blazing with his raw, explosive performance. Add to that terrific camerawork, brilliant pop/rock soundtrack hand-chosen by Scorsese from his personal collection, and screenplay that bursts with energy, and what you have is a tour de force that is mesmerizing as much because of its ferocious intensity and unabashed violence as it is because of its undiluted realism. Interestingly, this was also the first in a string of legendary collaborations between Scorsese and De Niro.
Director: Martin Scorsese Genre: Drama/Gangster Drama/Crime Drama/Urban Drama Language: English Country: US