I may be the only one in the world to say this, but I just don’t get Martin Scorsese. What am I missing here? And I am not solely against him for his “interpretation” of the subtitles in his distribution of Le Belle DeJour, where he took Brunuel’s finely crafted blend of fantasy and reality and decided to use italics in the scenes he felt was a fantasy. Hello!? Couldn’t anyone explain to him the point of the film was to make it unknown which was real and which was imagined?! Sorry, but I am not tuned into his genius. I feel he’s just the Tarratino of his age, a unique voice, who unlike Quentin, simply continued to make films. Taxi Driver, Mean Streets and Raging Bull show the three sides of Martin that have made him successful: gangsters, grit and DeNiro.
I liked Nicholas Cage immensely in Birdy, Raising Arizona and Leaving Las Vegas, but not in anything else, including this film. A part like this can make or break an actor if they throw their all into it, but Nicholas was not up for that challenge, or so it seemed, for he simply did what was asked of him, and went home at the end of the day.
He was a paramedic working in Hell’s Kitchen, just north of Satan’s Rompus Room. Death and violence all around him, as were junkies strung out on a new drug and pregnant hookers turning tricks. He was sick and worn down, or so his completely unnecessary narration related. He went about his days among the horror and tragedy of the masses of sick and injured he treated successfully, with the ghost of his one failure haunting him at every turn. To eventually ask this ghost for forgiveness was his only purpose for doing the job he does.
The camera got you right in there, splattering you with blood and guts and racing you through the busy streets. Selected songs subtly queued the next scene until the film took a hard turn into the MTV realm and became a techno, rave music video. Even John Goodman’s cameo could not help this film.
The screenplay was by Paul Schreader, the same Paul Schrader who did Taxi Driver, but this came across simply as a Taxi Driver early draft, and never gave any indication it was anything more. Kinda makes you wonder whether you even want to see DeNiro reprise his role as Travis Bickle twenty years later if Martin & Paul plan on doing it. Maybe Quentin should step out of obscurity and take a shot at this remake?