Shutter Island (2010)

A delightfully pulpy noir that commendably commits to being a waking nightmare of a film. The setting veers near being ridiculous in the design of the asylum, the jagged cliffs, intense weather, but Scorsese and DiCaprio clearly take the story seriously, and that commitment is what makes the film really work. Flashbacks to Dachau would…

Gangs of New York (2002)

Scorsese says the inspiration from GANGS OF NEW YORK came from, like so many things, his childhood. As a child in Little Italy, Manhattan, he would notice elements of the neighborhood far more aged than the rest, notably tombstones. “I gradually realized that the Italian-Americans weren’t the first ones there, that other people had been…

Bringing Out the Dead (1999)

The same way CASINO felt like a retread of GOODFELLAS, BRINGING OUT THE DEAD feels like a retread of TAXI DRIVER. Covering forty-eight hours in the life of Nicholas Cage’s burn-out paramedic character, Scorsese and Paul Schrader make a third murky character study about a man worn down by their roles in life, navigating a…

Casino (1995)

A crime epic very much in the style of GOODFELLAS. Where GOODFELLAS covered a more classical rise and fall, CASINO is almost a picaresque. Characters are a lot more static, and a broader theme of systemic corruption plays out, not just in the violent theatrics, but smaller-scale nepotistic concerns and the like. Things are gaudier…