I have now watched this film twice in my lifetime and still cannot understand why it is deemed "a classic". The opening scene of a murder and search for the films main character Robert DeNiro as "Noodles" is reminiscent of Sergio Leone's openers for his "man with no name" westerns, but the thing that even sinks this interesting beginning is an annoying telephone ringing, that rings for about 3 scenes at least for 3 or 4 minutes before anyone answers it and the piercing noise of this phone only makes you irritated, I really couldn't wait for someone to answer it.
So right off the bat I am agitated with the movie, to paraphrase the rest of the film's first 3 hours and more annoyances and perverseness. I ask these questions:
- Do we need to show a young girls (Deborah) naked breast and behind, played by 14 year old Jennifer Connelly?
- Do we need to see a teen boy sitting on a toilet, or groping a buxom teenager in the same bathroom?
- Or losing his virginity to the same girl on the roof of a building.
- Or statutory rape of the child by a police office at least 40 years her senior.
- Then we have an uninteresting character named Moe whose face was beaten to a pulp in the opening sequence, fully recovered and owning some bar in 1968, played by one of the worlds most boring actors (Larry Rapp) in a cast of boring actors. Question: Why couldn't it have been the "Moe the bartender" character from the Simpson's instead?
- We have to put up with a rape scene of "Deborah" now full grown and portrayed by Elizabeth McGovern, by her childhood "sweetheart" Noodles (Robert DeNiro) who is supposed to be the "Good guy". Why does this scene need to go on and on?
The rape scene takes a good 2 or 3 minutes to transpire and when he is done, he rips off her top and rapes her again without any regret. The scene is so vile and repulsive it makes the Jodie Foster rape scene in THE ACCUSED look like a gentle kiss on the cheek by two friends.
Has Leone ever heard of the expression "less is more"? We can learn a lot with only a few seconds devoted to a subject rather than the entire act being played out in all its disgust.
Now the pacing, the pacing is so slow and tedious without any real sense of awe or marvel. Why take so long to uncover something as mundane as a crypt where we already know that the 3 buddies of "Noodles" are kept? I was half expecting James Woods to be sitting atop his casket saying "thought I was dead didn't ya?" with all the time it took Deniro to walk in the darn door, the door that he seemed to open then close then open again then look at the names on the graves then close the door then get the key. Why does this scene take so long? What was the point?
I found myself asking this question about almost every scene. Throughout the film.
The pacing is just so slow and non revelatory in any real eye opening sense that it just leaves you frustrated.
This movie is neither a classic nor even a good gangster movie, all the good things he did that made ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST so great he doesn't do here, and one of the major things he failed to do when casting great actors like DeNiro and Woods (all the other actors are awful) is give them interesting characters to play or interesting things to say. Heck even a narrator could have helped me out here.
And Burt Young? Why Burt Young? Does anyone even know how this guy achieved an acting career? I had to rewind a few times just to understand what he was saying when he was telling that joke in the restaurant.
In a scene where the 4 Jewish gangsters rob the diamond merchants; All I could think to myself was that Guy Richie did this scene so much better (obviously Richie was influenced by this scene) in the movie SNATCH.
Then during the heist Noodles rapes Weld's character who is I guess a masochist? This is basically done to set up how he treats women he actually cares for, like Deborah who he rapes in the limo as listed earlier. Oh that's correct the man was in prison, I forgot.
And what the hell was that about the 4 friends whipping out there dicks for the Tuesday Weld character to measure with her eyes? I thought a porno was gonna start happening. I could hear the "Dun-chicka-dun-dun" music in my head somewhere.....
This movie was dull, non revelatory, brutally shocking in many places for no good verifiable reason and humorless, even when the 38 different writers that are listed in the credits tried to be funny. OK there are not really 38 writers more like 6.
All in all this movie was a waste of 4 hours and should have been edited down to 2 and even then nothing could save it from being boring, filled with wooden performances by B movie actors, a bad score, anonymous background noises, phones ringing seemingly forever, pointless rape sequences, women treated with the utmost of disrespect and did I say Burt Young? Well Treat Williams and Larry Rapp are in this too and THEY SUCK as well!!!
Give me Millers Crossing, Road to Perdition, Goodfellas, A Bronx Tale, The Sopranos, The Godfather and Mean Streets any day!! Heck I would even watch Christian Slater and Richard Grieco in Mobsters again, that Once upon a time in America!!
Classic?? As in classic over pretentious, unsubtle garbage!!!
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