By Piotr Wysmyk
Born in 1942, American director and producer.
Scorsese is considered one of the most greatest directors. Taxi Driver (1976) was the first movie which developed the unique Scorsese style of filmmaking/storytelling. From that point, his career really started. His first success was later followed by the other, also highly popular films such as: Goodfellas (1990), Casino (1995), Gangs of New York (2002) and The Departed (2006). All these productions are considered classics of gangster/mafia genre and, undoubtedly, have established Martin Scorsese as the master of this specific genre. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), starring Leonardo DiCaprio, is Martin Scorsese’s most recent box office success. The Irishman (its release is already set for the second half of 2019) is probably going to be the director’s great comeback to the gangster/mafia movie genre.
Are The Wolf of Wall Street and Goodfellas Similar to Each Other?
Undoubtedly, The Wolf of Wall Street and Goodfellas are Martin Scorsese’s most recognisable films. At first glance, they might be considered to be different from each other. On the other hand, there is a possibility that the more detailed analysis will reveal some similarities. In my review I am going to analyse both movies to find out if there is any commonality in them.
Goodfellas presents the fact-based story of three gangsters: Tommy (Joe Pesci), Henry (Ray Liotta) and James (Robert De Niro). The story begins from Tommy’s and Henry’s childhood days and their introduction (provided by James) to the world of organised crime. The film is later followed by the images of their adult lives which are marked by the brutal struggle to climb up in the mafia’s hierarchy. However, at the end of the day, there is always a high price to pay for such a life…the main plot is interlinked with side threads which concern the main character’s private lives which are full of the often appearing images of decadence, emptiness and exaggerated extravagance.
The Wolf of Wall Street is the fact-based story of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) – the rich Wall Street Broker who is the owner of the Brokerage House called Stratton Oakmont. The film sweeps through the all stages of Jordan Belfort’s career – from the first days on Wall Street, through his days of prosperity (as the owner of the Brokerage House), to the breaking point and the final conclusion marked by downfall of his empire. The Wolf of Wall Street centres on the overall account of the main protagonist’s private life which is full of falsity, self-destruction and wrongdoing.
At first glance, both analyses’ reveal some similarities between Goodfellas and The Wolf of Wall Street. Both films are fact-based productions and, due to that fact, they somehow belong to the genre of biography/fictionalised documentary. The plot seems to concern totally different topics. However, there are themes which appear in both films (e.g. self-destruction, wrongdoing, paying a high price, emptiness). From the technical point of view, both films contain of the no-dialogue/no-monologue scenes where voice-overs take the lead. Such scenes seem to be a part of Martin Scorsese’s signature strategy of filmmaking/storytelling.
-Martin Scorsese’s biography, available online at: https://www.biography.com/people/martin-scorsese-9476727
–Casino, 1995. Directed by Martin Scorsese. USA/France: Universal Pictures.
–Gangs of New York, 2002. Directed by Martin Scorsese. USA/Italy: Miramax Films.
–Goodfellas, 1990. Directed by Martin Scorsese. USA: Warner Bros.
–Taxi Driver, 1976. Directed by Martin Scorsese. USA: Columbia Pictures.
–The Departed, 2006. Directed by Martin Scorsese. USA/Hongkong: Warner Bros.
–The Irishman, 2019. Directed by Martin Scorsese. USA (not released yet).
–The Wolf of Wall Street, 2013. Directed by Martin Scorsese. USA: Paramount Pictures.