Watched Jul 12, 2012
Aaron Noonan’s review:
The first film Scorsese did without Robert De Niro in a whole decade, and you can really tell. Not in a bad way, but it is incredibly different from everything he had done up until that point. Absent are most of the dark themes he usually incorporates into his films, such as self destruction/self hatred, moral ambiguity (for the most part), guilt, Italian-American identity etc.
What we have instead is a fun black comedy. It's almost a screwball comedy, but it's a bit dark to be called that. As Paul gets himself into situation upon situation, the film gets more and more ridiculous, and by extension more and more fun. Admittedly it took me a while to get into the swing of it, though this could be because I'm watching Scorsese's films in order and was not prepared for this departure from the norm.
It's extremely well directed, and one gets the impression that Scorsese had no vested interest in this project, and just wanted to have a little fun. He tries lots of different techniques (including speeding up shots, which is very much opposite to his love of slow motion), and they all work to create a vibrant New York City nightlife.
The lead actor is Griffin Dunne, who I have never heard of before, but he really is quite something in this. He might not be Robert De Niro, but he suits the role so perfectly.
The ending kind of bugged me - it seemed like a bit of a cop out. But then, how do you end this film? I can't think of a better ending so perhaps I can't be too critical.
Scorsese's films almost always have a moral message, but I don't think this one does - and to be honest it's a better film for it.