Everything begins to finally take a turn with Scorsese’s 1973 film, Mean Streets. With a simple story, this film is the first glimpse at a New York, gangster movie coming from the talented director. The film centers around Harvey Keitel’s character, Charlie, who looks after and keeps watch over his younger friend, Johnny Boy, played by Robert De Niro, who in the film owes money to various loan sharks scattered throughout the city of New York. The story remains simple.
Setting him asides from his two previous works, Martin Scorsese is put on the map with Mean Streets and demands to be a director to be taken seriously. He flexes his “cinematography bicep” with creative POV shots, effective red lighting, and attempts at long takes. It is to be said, this is the first film that feels like a true Martin Scorsese movie. The Italian-American roots shine through, and the true director within Marty prevails.
At a run time of just eight minutes shy of two hours, even with its weightless plot, Mean Streets almost feels it may never end. Many scenes can drag on, making you feel that Scorsese should have yelled “cut” before De Niro and Keitel go on long, improvised tangents. Although a movie should never feel longer than its true runtime … this may be the only prominent fault of Mean Streets. This was a major change for Scorsese’s career, and for the better…Nothing says “1970s New York” more than Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, and Martin Scorsese fooling around with a camera! And if you never get around to watching this film… please do yourself the favor and indulge yourself in Keitel’s drunken state accompanied by The Chips’ Rubber Biscuit.
Story/Plot – 15/20 Direction – 18/20 Acting - 17/20
Cinematography – 17/20 Score/Soundtrack – 18/20
The Founder of @HennionProductions,