Made Men: The Story of Goodfellas

Glenn Kenny. Hanover Square, $29.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-335-01650-8
Kenny, a New York Times film critic, offers an exhaustive, sometimes exhausting analysis of Goodfellas, “frequently cited as the most realistic American movie about organized crime.” Director Martin Scorsese, Kenny writes, establishes his deglamorized depiction of mobsters right from the opening scene, which introduces the film’s stars, Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, and Joe Pesci (playing a “human incendiary device”), with whom the audience is immediately made to share a “realistic intimacy,” even as “stylization [is used] as a distancing effect” from their horrendous crimes. Kenny discusses in depth the careers of these actors and of Scorsese, as well as of their supporting cast members and Scorsese’s filmmaking collaborators. These include executive producer Barbara De Fina (who candidly reflects on her divorce from Scorsese around this time), editor Thelma Schoonmaker (“The woman I trust,” according to Scorsese), and Scorsese’s co-screenwriter, Nicholas Pileggi, with whom he turned the latter’s nonfiction book Wiseguy into a script Kenny deems “a model of narrative resourcefulness.” Kenny’s exacting attention to aspects of the production both big and small continues as he examines the soundtrack choices (from Bobby Darin to Sid Vicious) and even the Liotta character’s recipe for ziti. Readers who are only casual admirers of Scorsese may find Kenny’s level of detail tedious, but the director’s most devoted fans will adore this. Agent: Joseph Veltre, Gersh Agency. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/19/2020
Release date: 09/15/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
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