Tag Archives: Robert De Niro

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

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Drawing comparisons between a David O. Russell film and the film of another, more boilerplate Oscar-season director is kind of like comparing the X Games to the Olympics, the latter more prepared to sweep us up in its comforting and controlled familiarity, the former astonishing with its mercurial brilliance. This is not a compliment or critique, but a comment on the thrilling messiness David O. Russell brings as a storyteller. Silver Linings Playbook–Russell’s follow up to the Academy-nominated The Fighter–thrives in this mess, bringing its sundry characters together in a collection of manic fits and starts–appropriate for a film so preoccupied with mental health issues. Playbook is a film with the heart of a romantic comedy and the head of a black comedy, and of this collision is born a visceral, cerebral story about a family with a lot to fix.

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Taxi Driver (1976)

Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro are New York City guys, through and through. Born there, raised there, and like a couple of Gangster Woody Allens, treating the city as their muse and making their best films there. It’s with this unyielding connection in mind that I found myself struck by Taxi Drivers portrayal of the Apple. New York City is a hellhole, covered in sweat and grime, its streets trafficked by hookers and killers. It is a truly miserable place. This could mean a number of things from the Director’s point of view: it could be the truth of the city’s underworld in the 1970’s, or just the way the city looks to Travis Bickle, or, most probably, it is simply the way Scorsese sees the world. Dark and dirty, with the occasional intimation that people aren’t entirely hopeless.

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