By Agustin Steinaker (Regina, Canada)
On the next couple of paragraphs, I will be revealing the plot and my personal opinions on the movie Goodfellas. I will also be rating it and giving my opinion on whether or not you should go to watch this movie. The first time I saw this film I was blown away. I loved it and the plot made sense, and to think that it was based on real life just makes the movie ten-times better. Without further due, I will get into the movie’s plot.
Goodfellas is about Henry Hill (played by Ray Liotta) and the rise and fall of his dream to become a big time gangster. Since he was 15 years old, he was already doing small favours for the neighborhood crooks from across the street. From hanging around the taxi rank as a kid, to hijacking, airport robberies, extortion, drug dealing, and informing as an adult. Along the way, Henry gets a Jewish wife (played by Lorraine Bracco), who unlike the other women married to gangsters, finds it impossible to not be involved in her husband’s way of life. Most importantly are Henry’s close male friendships with Jimmy (played by Robert De Niro), a violent heist man, and Tommy (played by Joe Pesci), a psychopath with anger problems. At the end, Henry turns in his few surviving friends to the FBI and ends up in Federal Witness Protection.
All the characters in this movie were believable, not just because it is based on a real story but because I feel like that is how people would react in real life. One example would be when the gang was just playing poker in a bar with nobody else in it other than a bartender. This bartender was wearing a cast because he had previously been shot by Tommy the night before when he was drunk. Tommy asked the bartender to pour him another drink and makes fun of his cast and if he does not hurry up he’ll shoot him again. The bartender told Tommy to go screw himself and walked away while the gang laughs at Tommy.
Jimmy jokingly asks Tommy what’s his comeback but Tommy doesn’t say a word and right there Tommy pulls out his gun and kills the bartender. The gang doesn’t take this lightly. Instead of laughing at the bartender after getting shot like happens in most gangster movies, they get mad at Tommy for killing an innocent man. Henry is mostly shocked by this event, showing us that it’s not easy being part of the mob and sometimes you have to sacrifice some things to be part of that even if that means helping your psychotic friend bury a bartender’s body because he killed him for no good reason.
This movie mostly takes place in East New York and I find that to be interesting. I find this location interesting because, nowadays, we see New York as that wonderful place where great people and opportunities are born but we don’t really get an aspect on the organized crime that goes on there. One example is when Henry was about 16 years old he started working in a little bakery where his boss would later become his mob boss. All of a sudden, a man gets shot up on the same block and runs to the bakery for aid. That was the first time Henry saw someone shot and Henry’s boss was angry because he was getting so many towels soaked up in blood, but Henry couldn’t resist to the help the man. This showed me that there is a different side of New York that I have never seen before.
As for the camera angles and the way this movie was executed they all seemed amazing to me. One of the shots that caught my attention the most was when Henry and his girlfriend want to get in a fancy restaurant but there is a long line. Henry has connections and one of these connections makes him get in that restaurant and get an amazing spot. This scene stand out to me because it’s an on-going scene that show us through where Tommy goes through the back door, into a hallway, into a kitchen, then into the restaurant itself and then saying hi to many people. This whole scene was shot in one on-going shot and it lasts about 2 minutes and 30 seconds and it just shows me how the camera work is amazingly done.
Overall, this movie is an amazing movie with an incredible plot. The characters were all realistic. The 1970’s New York look of everything makes you think that you’re in that 1970’s era. The camera work was greatly done and executed. I would definitely rate this movie a five stars out of five stars and I would recommend anyone who likes good movies to go watch this movie. All in all, this movie really hit all the high points I look for in a movie and the cast, alongside, the camera work and plot, make it a fun time.