Film of the day: Goodfellas

Goodfellas

Martin Scorsese’s visceral adaptation of Nicolas Pileggi’s best-selling Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family is a classic of the US gangster genre that focuses on the street-level dealings, greed and betrayals of criminals at the very bottom of the mafia hierarchy.

The film follows the rise and fall of Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) from his initiation into a neighbourhood crew, where Robert De Niro’s Jimmy ‘The Gent’ Conway mentors him, through to his role in a huge heist at JFK airport, which results in a brutal, paranoia-fuelled, dog eat dog cull over control and shares of the spoils.

Goodfellas is a swaggering ode to mob culture, it is hugely entertaining with a mix of music, chrome-finned Cadillac chic, beautifully detailed period fashion serenading a simpler rose-tinted view of crime juxtaposed against terrifying performances from Joe Pesci, as the near psychotic Tommy DeVito, De Niro, as the charismatic but utterly ruthless Conway, and the saccharine bonhomie that invariably precedes menace and death.

Goodfellas – Thursday at 11.00pm on TCM HD.

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