I have yet to see Shutter Island and The Departed. The Aviator was good but the CGI bothered me at times.I really liked Hugo.The Last Temptation of Christ was …. different for me because i was used to his older style (Taxi Driver,Mean Streets,Raging Bull).
I for sure prefer his earlier works and doubt that he will ever be back on top form again. Yet I do occasionally see mainstream Hollywood films and if I have to choose among their disappointing output each year i would rather go see one from Scorsese, with or without DiCaprio. It would be a very pleasant surprise if he makes something on par with Taxi Driver or Raging Bull. I think it’s unlikely, given his age & the current climate of Hollywood, not to mention things like Taki Driver are also hard to match.
About that scorsese & diCaprio issue, I don’t see any problem with it. DiCaprio is a pretty good actor, and their collaborations so far work.
@matt l: Is awards a factor for “growth”? Those bastards at AMPAS and BAFTA giving Marty awards don’t change a thing about what I see as a decade-long decline for the guy(though he did deserve an Oscar after 30 fucking years, despite the fact that I HATE AMPAS). More projects don’t change a thing, either. I’m starting to think that you didn’t read my OP: I was talking about the consistency and the quality of his work nowadays. I also don’t care if he goes down this road of making movies of this quality type; hell I started this forum just to see what people thought about his work nowadays ever since what I thought was his last memorable movie, Gangs of New York (which has evolved into something deeper, thank you very much). Sure an only “good” or “bad” movie every now and then from a consistently great director is fine, but when you’ve got four movies in a row that aren’t quite the same grade as the last great movie from a guy who used to put out great movies every two or three years, you just have to wonder.
I don’t think he’s declined at all. Shutter Island, while structurally rocky, is a very psychologically incisive film (unlike Taxi Driver) and among his best, while The Departed is his most thoroughly entertaining and exuberant film after Goodfellas (which I think his best film).
“Shutter Island, while structurally rocky, is a very psychologically incisive film”
I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a film as carefully or as convincingly present a case of mental illness (in this case extreme suppression of memories associated with a severe trauma, to the point of complete delusion) in which the etiology of a character’s mental state is sufficiently shown or intimated, and his mental states in the midst of his illness attempted to be portrayed and symbolized. I found the reveal in the tower powerfully jarring, as it evoked to my mind the extent to which people will distort or repress (however unconsciously) certain traumatic truths or aspects of reality in order to preserve their psyche.
It’s formally compelling in a very referential sort of way, but to me it’s probably Scorsese’s least psychological film.
I have no problem with the Scorsese-DiCaprio either for I specifically don’t think the problem lies in the actor. I sort of feel the tension is heightened again when the news of the potential collaboration with DiCaprio breaks but the reaction is less negative when DiCaprio is not involved as in the case of Hugo. Yet for me Hugo is not much an improvement from his recent efforts at all, I would say it’s even less interesting than the floppy Gangs and less complete than The Aviator. It has more or less all the elements of a mainstream Hollywood production, glossy look, conventional structure, sketchy characters and generic bland acting at least from the leads. Opening shot was nice, Melies hommage was lovely but apart from that, what else?
It is not possible to take this thread seriously when the OP’s entire critique of one Scorsese film consists of “I just don’t like this movie.”
Wow. That’s certainly definitive and thorough.
Of course, it is entirely possible the OP never intended it to be taken seriously. I would rather believe that and give him the benefit of the doubt.
Marty has considerable creative control over hie projects once they’re udnerway, but getting afilm stsated is often the problem. The marketplace dominated thinking in “Mainstrem” cinema. Cionsequently “The Departed” was a ’safe choice" for Marty in a way that “Silence” (whih he has been tryinh to make for at least 20 years) is not.
Some films split the difference. “Hugo” is a “family film” in a great many ways, but at the same time incredibly personal and visually rich beyond most people’s dreams.
Yeah, that’s a good distinction to make.
In terms of The Works of Asa Butterfield, I’d give The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas the slight edge.
The Aviator is one of the better films from its decade. It is anything but safe and routine. Two-strip technicolor technique, turning all greens into blues is safe and routine?
While he has matured, and changed paths slightly as a director, to say he is in decline is just untrue.
@Cinematic Cteve: OK, I’ll tell you what I really think about Shutter Island: It feels detached and looked unoriginal because the styles recalled Lewton without Scorsese adding his own touch. I’ve told this before in one of my posts somewhere…
@david myers: The handling of the story was safe and routine. The visual style, I dig much, but all in all, the movie kind of felt like Gandhi with a nice visual palette (I don’t like Gandhi btw).
I would say S, Island is the only decent Scorsese film in the decade, the atmosphere is pretty good.
Shutter Island is one of those films that demands two viewings. Some people may balk at that notion, but it’s true for some pictures. On second viewing, Shutter Island simply expands in your mind. Suddenly, the performacnes take on an entirely different tone. The arched eyebrows and sideways glances — watch Ben Kingsley, especially — suddenly bring the charade into focus. It really is a cool sensation and worth trying as an experiment.
Even if you know what’s going on in this film before the big reveal, watching the picture twice reveals even more.
Sure, Scorsese pays tribute to Val Lewton, but also to Hitchcock. The picture itself is an odd mashup of the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, with atmosphere galore.
Treat it as an experiment in genre filmmaking and you’ll have a good time. Scorsese has certainly earned the right to play around with different cinematic tropes and to honor the films that he says influenced him as a child.
It’s no Raging Bull, no GoodFellas, but compared to most everything else that was playing in mainstream cinemas in February 2010, or today for that matter, it will do nicely.
“It’s no Raging Bull, no GoodFellas, but compared to most everything else that was playing in mainstream cinemas in February 2010, or today for that matter, it will do nicely.”
I disagree. It’s ironic because this film opened the same weekend as Polanski’s The Ghost Writer, which gave a stark contrast to an iconic filmmaker who still knows how to deliver the goods.
Knowing almost immediately off the boat (pun intended) that Leo was the crazy person, I can’t imagine what a second viewing presents (except more nausea).
Wow. I’m going to defend Scorsese here. While “Hugo” is not the strongest film he’s ever made (it may be his weakest and that just shows how amazing he is), I cannot support “Shutter Island” being compared negatively against “The Ghost Writer.” “The Ghost Writer” is the definition of overated. At the end of the day, “Shutter Island” is entertaining yet flawed. “The Ghost Writer” is dull yet flawed.
There’s an interesting question for Ehrenstein – Hugo or The Ghost Writer?
Talk about a Sophie’s choice. lol
I’ve expressed my admiration of Shutter Island already, but I can’t say it has quite the formal elegance and expert shaping of The Ghost Writer. Nor do I like any of its performances as much as Olivia Williams’. Ultimately, while Shutter is a far more poignant film, I consider The Ghost Writer superior.
“except more nausea”
Really? No hyperbole intended? Oh, well.
I had read Lehane’s novel and guessed the twist early on, but that did not stop me from watching the film, or seeing it again on DVD to study the performances more closely.
hehe – yeah, it’s hyperbole for sure. But it’s fitting for how I feel about the film. I really really wanted to like the film and thought that I would (I chose to see Shutter Island on opening night over The Ghost Writer!). But from the get-go, it was a tough one for me (it probably doesn’t help that I think Leo is one of the worst actors).
SAntino, when you mentioend DiCaprio, your comments started to jell and I understood clearly. Scorsese clearly sees something in the actor that eludes me. Aside from the marquee value of his name, I don’t see DiCaprio bringing a lot to the table. Scorsese’s films have always made only slightly more money than Woody Allen’s, execept in the last decade when the box office for a Scorsese picture really started to blossom.
Scorsese started working with di Caprio 10 years ago. Hmmm.
On a semi-related note, has anyone seen J. Edgar? Didn’t think so.
DiCaprio is also shaping up to be the weak link, pun intended, in Tarantino’s Django Unchained.
Have you not seen his performances in Revolutionary Road, Blood Diamond, The Departed, Catch Me If You Can, The Basketball Diaries? His Frank Wheeler in RR is a genius breakthrough in naturalistic acting.
Cteve – that’s a good point regarding tying Leo to Scorsese’s recent box office “expansion”. There definitely might be a correlation there; it would be interesting if this films such as The Departed would’ve made just as much money had Leo not been in it.
The Departed is really the only film with Leo that didn’t bother me. I didn’t think he was great in it but he wasn’t terrible either. Maybe he’s growing on me? lol
“it would be interesting if this films such as The Departed would’ve made just as much money had Leo not been in it.”
I think it’s more a matter of “would it have been as able to secure funding without DiCaprio?”.
I think Matt may be closer to the truth. Studios are whores for money and tight with a dollar when it’s time to spend some.
To paraphrase an old tune by the Police, DiCaprio’s attachment to a project prompts Roxanne to put on the green light.
You may be interested to know, if you don’t already, that Brad Pitt’s production company won the Best Picture Oscar for The Departed.
Separately, Revolutionary Road reminded me too much of Douglas Sirk pictures, which are an acquired taste that I have yet to acquire.
DiCaprio is at his best when he is not affecting accents that elude him. That was my biggest problem with Shutter Island, which I still enjoyed. The distraction of DiCaprio using his “Bah-stun” accent kept me from getting completely immersed in the film.
I think you guys miss my point here – The Departed was the first Scorsese film to be number one at the box office opening weekend (and at the time would go on to be his highest grossing film to date). My question is, was that because of Leo? Would it have done just as well with someone else?
In terms of getting a movie funded, I’m sure Leo helped get Gangs and The Aviator made since those are more risky projects. But The Departed is cliched Scorsese. He’s been making these films his whole life. If Scorsese couldn’t get what was essentially Goodfellas Part 3 funded until Leo became attached, that would be surprising. And regardless, it doesn’t address the specific issue which his recent films are now making more money than ever (the issue is not about Scorsese finally being able to make movies – as if prior to finding Leo, Scorsese was unable to get any film greenlit). lol
And I can’t even talk about Revolutionary Road. If Shutter Island was awful, then this…well…this movie is beyond hyperbole.
Does Shutter Island really acquire a second viewing? I know from the previews, that seem to haunt the theater I worked at during the time as it was constantly changing dates, that the main character was Patient # Whatever. I rolled with it anyway and watched. Some striking images for sure and honestly the only time I actually was fine with DiCaprio’s performance (He was also fine in The Departed but he felt like a cipher but did much better in his scenes with the most interesting characters in the film unlike Gangs of New York) but the movie was too long. It is an homage to genre filmmaking but with the exception of The Shining, few of those films Scorsese was playing with were that long is pulling the chain of its audience. Some scenes were just so obvious what was going on with the main character that I was just waiting for any real surprise and got little with exception to the Michelle Williams character. I found Ben Kingsley most interesting and would have loved to have known more about his experimentation on patient which seemed incredibly flawed.
It felt like Shutter Island as an exercise, which is what I think of it, came out a decade too late. From very sophisticated homages to the previous era like The Others to the hackish works of M. Night Shyamalan refreshed the idea of the big reveal that immediately became stale again.
As for Scorsese’s big budget expeditions this past decade I am very surprised how unwavering the Hollywood word of mouth in praise and accolades was with Hugo despite the fact it is still in major red when you tie in advertising that was put in for the film. Hugo was less of an exercise than Shutter Island but it still made big hay on what it was trying to do and it is something that I am not quite sure even the best studio executives could advertise to make money other than the Scorsese branding and 3D(!).
I’d still take those over Cape Fear and The Color of Money but that is my low-bar Scorsese.
@cinematic cteve: saw j. edgar at the time of its release. Didn’t know what all the hate was about.
I second the motion that The Ghost Writer was better than Shutter Island.