Mean Streets

1973 drama

Rating: 17/20

Plot: Charlie wants to advance in the ranks of the mafia as he works to collect debts for his uncle, but his loyalty to a crazy friend stands in the way.

Here's a movie you should let your kids watch instead of The Angry Birds Movie. Its great performances and gritty poetry and urban fetishism is much more delightful than watching cartoon eagles urinate.

I hadn't seen this in a very long time, and I'm surprised at how similar the series of events and the relationships here are to what happens in Rounders, a movie that I've seen at least three times since the last time I watched this. Watching this in 1973, people were seeing an actor do something that I don't think was done before. De Niro's performance is so good, and it's even better because it's something that is imperfect. He doesn't hit all the notes, and for whatever reason, that makes it all better. Keitel is really great, too.

This has the feel of something very personal to Scorsese, and I love how he isn't afraid to dwell on smaller, seemingly insignificant details here. It creates this texture that I'm sure is exactly what Scorsese was going for. Great soundtrack choices, superb dialogue, perplexing relationships between the characters, and some uniquely tense scenes help him hit the bullseye again and again with this.

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