But the characters in Goodfellas (1990), Martin Scorsese’s gangster masterpiece, are anything but good. They’re violent, greedy, sentimental, and tasteless, with tempers so quick they break the sound barrier. They’re about as bad as fellas get, which naturally makes for an exhilarating film.
What makes Goodfellas so compelling is the sense of perspective Scorsese has on his anti-heroes (a perspective lacking in his later The Wolf of Wall Street). The director understands what makes the characters pathetic as well as charismatic, and diminishes them as often as he lionises them. It helps that the performances are consistently excellent, with Joe Pesci winning an Oscar for his demonic turn as Tommy DeVito.
Also starring Robert DeNiro and Ray Liotta, Goodfellas is being screened at the BFI Southbank as part of their Martin Scorsese season. Catch anything from Taxi Driver and Raging Bull to Shutter Island and Gangs of New York on the big screen until the end of February.
|What||Goodfellas screening, BFI|
Belvedere Road, Southbank, London, SE1 8XT | MAP
|Nearest tube||Waterloo (underground)|
20 Jan 17 – 09 Feb 17, Times vary
|Price||£8.35 - £11.75|
|Website||Click here to book tickets|