A chief trouble with Martin Scorsese’s new film is that it has to strain to be a Scorsese film. Certain graphic qualities have marked most of his work, and as with any director of personality and style, those qualities had become as natural to him as breathing. But in Bringing Out the Dead, the formerly natural seems forced, redemptive, almost salvaging.
Protected: A PERSONAL JOURNEY WITH MARTIN SCORSESE THROUGH AMERICAN MOVIES
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Terrence Rafferty on The Hustler, part two.
The picture is virtually bare of Scorsese style, such touches, heavy or helpful, as the opening manhole shot of Taxi Driver or the opening prize-ring sequence of Raging Bull. I saw nothing in The King of Comedy that couldn’t have been done by any competent director. Cinematically, it’s flavorless.
Seeing Martin Scorsese’s new film is like visiting a human zoo. That’s certainly not to say that it’s dull: good zoos are not dull. But the life we watch is stripped to elemental drives, with just enough decor of complexity—especially the heraldry of Catholicism —to underscore how elemental it basically is.