Now I see what all the fuss is about. A modern day mob picture, which means that it is real. There are ups and downs to it. I like the story, I hate the depiction of drugs and home violence. But that is just me, I don't have a stomach for those kinds of things. But its real, so it gets a point for that. I had no idea that this was based on a book, which was a non-fiction piece. The film is semi-non-fiction though - and it is more interesting knowing that some of this is real.
What I think I liked most about this movie is the storytelling process. The voiceovers, the flashback. And of course, the guys. How can you not like these guys? The thing about this movie is that at first, it is a love letter to the mafia. But then, suddenly, something happens and you're scared of this world that just a second before was being celebrated.
Well - I hate the crazy part of them. You want to know how I know Pesci is good in this movie? I can't stand him - or at least his temper. I love him most of the time, but then I hate him for a bit. Then I am back to loving him. That is both good acting and a well written character. All actors are quite good in this. Liotta is another great medium character. You latch on to him, and you like him. What I like most is his reactions. Especially his face - his "holy shit!" look. deNiro is deNiro. He's great. Powerful and dangerous, but so likable. He is what you want to like about a gangster.
As far as directing goes, this is the first Scorsese film that I knew was his. And I see why he is considered a genius.
This film was nominated for 6 Oscars - only Joe Pesci got his for Best Supporting Actor. It lost Best Picture, but it lost to 'Dances with Wolves' - so at least you know it went down against a great one. It is on both AFI Top 100 lists and ranked #2 on the list of Gangster Films. Also, interesting side note: it is (I think) 9th in the list of movies with the most use of the word "fuck" in it.
4 out of 5 stars