Oct 27, 2014

More Scorsese Reviews: ****


"The critic Tom Shone, in this film-by-film overview of Scorsese’s work, is alive to the mutating arc of his career – its tactical retrenchments, not just its maverick advances.... There’s a danger of drifting into blandness with this picture packed, coffee-table format: Richard Schickel’s Spielberg volume in the same series, for instance, mostly nodded along with the director’s own judgments. Shone is too vigorous a critic not to put up a fight. He calls Gangs “heartbreaking in the way that only missed masterpieces can be: raging, wounded, incomplete, galvanised by sallies of wild invention”. There’s lots of jazzy, thumbnail writing of this kind, compacted critiques you suspect Shone would merrily expand upon, given more space. His description of Barbara Hershey’s “flushed, hayseed beauty” in the early exploitation flick Boxcar Bertha (1972) is spot on.... Even writing about Scorsese demands a full pot of coffee on the stove – imagine making films the way he does. Shone on the “rich, strange and unfathomable” Taxi Driver (1976) cuts to the essence of what Scorsese is capable of: it’s when his meticulous formal control feels guided, not just by storyboards and perfectionist craft and memories of other movies, but a kind of demon inside, driving him to nightmarish and expressionistic peaks." 
— Tim Robey, The Sunday Telegraph **** out of *****

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