“You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? Then who the hell else are you talkin’ to? You talkin’ to me? Well I’m the only one here. Who the fuck do you think you’re talking to?”
From the moment we heard those chilling words, we knew there was a filmmaker on the loose willing to challenge all that had come before in film. And that man was Martin Scorsese.
Regarded as one of Hollywood’s greatest directors, Scorsese has directed films that seem almost larger than life. His particular style and thoughtful craftsmanship spread over his filmography only consolidates his position as a pioneer of cinematic techniques and directing within the industry.
The best way to describe Martin Scorsese and his infamous directing style is ‘classic’. Scorsese’s career has undoubtedly been an incredible one, from pioneering certain shots and visuals such as the dragged out Steadicam angles that string on for 3 minutes straight at time, and have inevitably become a staple of Scorsese’s arsenal, down to creating legendary actors such as Al Pacino and Robert De Niro.
Let’s have a look at what our FIB Film Team had to say about Scorsese’s film-making style:
FIB Film Team Leader
Something I find that is beautifully done across every Martin Scorsese film I’ve ever watched is his incredibly detailed ability to capture the feel of a period of time or setting. The harrowing beauty of the scene in ‘Taxi Driver’ where the audience gets to see how NYC is perceived from the perspective of a taxi driver who finds himself in uncomfortable situations almost every night is unparalleled, or the ‘Goodfellas’ long shot kitchen scene. Being able to accurately capture the tone of an environment while simultaneously choreograph long moving shots with huge settings and an abundance of moving parts is extremely difficult but it seems so effortless while you’re watching a Scorsese film. True directing expertise is constantly displayed and it sucks the audience right in every single time.
A true directing masterclass is Martin Scorsese even in his latest film ’The irishman’ where we get a sense of the classical style mixed with beautiful cinematography and modern techniques to portray a historical journey that allows you to feel like you’re in that car with them. A huge inspiration to any film fanatic for sure.
FIB Film Team Member
Martin Scorsese has often used sounds and narration as a primary tool to promote realism and build characters in his films. In The Wolf of Wallstreet Martin Scorsese incorporated narration in conjunction with a nonlinear timeline to make a film with very strong and developed connection between the audience and the characters, creating a strong perception of Jordan Belfort’s personal life. The incorporation of business and comedy in a movie enabled Martin Scorsese to play off Jordan’s character and show contrast for his reputation as the world’s greatest sales trainer and as an outgoing and gregarious person. He could be seen as a scummy and cheeky person that his coworkers praised, with the law acting the opposite, very assertive and authoritative. His lavish lifestyle further idealizes his true wealth and directs the attention to the main character, also highlighting his connection with his coworkers and the charisma he brings to his stockbroking company. The group of characters within the firm were engaging to watch as they would interact in a comedic way often, and all learned from Jordan Belfort, giving them similar traits and a similar persona to Jordan Belfort. In the films entirety, all the characters played off each other well and the story was developed through utilization of character’s personalities.
FIB Film Team Member
Martin Scorcese, in an oversimplification, is that Italian-American director from New York who frequently makes movies set in New York with Italian-American actors from New York. While this doesn’t even remotely do justice to his versatility and technical ability as a filmmaker, it does highlight one important aspect; he is endlessly drawn to making certain kinds of movies, and he is exceptional and making those movies.
He’s reasonably notorious for his blood-spattered mafia movies like Goodfellas (1990), Casino (1995), Mean Streets (1973), and more recently The Irishman (2019), but what his movies really showcase are troubled characters struggling and/or thriving in an unforgiving New York City. They may be caught up in a dangerous plot, on the wrong side of the law, or simply at odds with the world around them, and with themselves (i.e. Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Wolf of Wall Street)
Like Tarantino, he often casts the same few actors in multiple movies; Joe Pesci and Leonardo Dicaprio, for example. But by a large margin his most frequent collaborator is Robert De Niro, appearing in 10 Scorsese films, often in a leading role. This attests to Scorsese’s preference for working with people he can trust to interpret his stories faithfully, rather than betting on a new actor that might ‘be a better fit’. One could easily criticise for this reliance on comfort as well, but when the results are of the quality of Scorsese’s, it’s hard to justify changing a thing.
FIB Film Team Member
Martin Scorsese stands as one of the most influential directors of modern cinema, and for good reason. His innovative style, consisting of extended tracking shots, whip pans and graphic violence, has been refined over decades as a member of the industry. The impact of his body of work can be, and continues to be seen in cinema today.
Shutter Island (2010), a personal favourite, marked a departure from Scorsese’s focus on the crime and gangster film genres. Instead he chose to draw from the works of Alfred Hitchcock for this film, influenced by the elements of psychological horror, mystery and noir that Hitchcock brought to the silver screen. As a result the film follows a slower pace, opting for a tense build of narrative elements in the one setting which culminate towards the films end. Yet the character arc of protagonist Edward Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) centres on themes of guilt and redemption, which are commonly explored in Scorsese’s film.
The Wolf of Wall Street is also a fascinating piece of cinema. Scorsese’s masterful direction
captures a world of greed, corruption and excess. Led by Leonardo DiCaprio (again), The Wolf of
Wall Street tells a more fast-paced story, filled with quick cuts, witty dialogue and often caricature-like characters. This suits the capitalist world of stock-broking in which the story takes places.
Clearly Scorsese can adapt to stories of different genres, while still retaining the signature elements that make his films unique.
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