Robert De Niro 80s Triple Bill Rewatch

I've seen all three films below before, but the mists of time have shrouded my memories to the extent that I really have no good memory of them at all. That is both a bit worrying and a bit gratifying, because it means I get to re-watch them as if for the first time, thereby taking my mind off any worries about dementia creeping in. By coincidence, they all star one Robert De Niro, who could do no wrong in the 80s, so it's a chance to remind ourselves of when he was actually worth watching in a film.

The Mission (Roland Joffe, 1986) should really be better than it is. It's a good story based on true events in 18th century South America, where a Jesuit mission for Amazonian natives comes under threat from Portuguese and Spanish invaders. It promises much, with death, sacrifice, faith and religious conflict in abundance. It has an epic jungle setting, gorgeously captured by the Oscar-winning cinematography. It has Robert De Niro twirling a sword, Jeremy Irons climbing a waterfall and Liam Neeson shooting arrows from a canoe. Best of all, it has Ennio Morricone's hauntingly beautiful score to accompany the visuals. And yet, it's all rather staid, badly paced and struggles to engage the mind or heart, despite all the above. That's really rather unforgiveable. No wonder it was remade by James Cameron as Avatar.

De Niro facial hair rating : Good range exhibited, from tidy to unkempt and back. Distinction.

Angel Heart (Alan Parker, 1987) has stood the test of time much better. Set in the 1950s, shabby PI Harry Angel (Mickey Rourke) is employed by a mysterious client (Robert De Niro) to track down missing singer Johnny Favourite, but there's more to the case than first meets the eye. It's a very enjoyable and interesting spin on the PI genre, which stands up pretty well to repeat viewing even when you know the revelations to come. Parker's atmospheric direction proves fitting as the story starts to shift from mystery-thriller to something more supernatural (although the less said about the silly eyes at the end, the better). De Niro is only on supporting duties here, though. Mostly, it 's a chance to see just why Mickey Rourke was a big deal back in the day. A shambling contrast of good looks and slobby appearance, this represented the peak of his 80s career, before things went to shit for the next 20 years. One can only assume he sold his sold to the devil in return for stardom and looks, only for the devil to collect on that debt soon after he made this.

De Niro facial hair rating : Immaculately groomed and fittingly sinister full beard. Commendation.

Martin Scorsese was quite ill during the production of The King of Comedy (Martin Scorsese, 1982) and that does seem to have impacted on the film, which is a slightly uneven, somewhat rushed affair. Rupert Pupkin (De Niro) is an aspiring stand-up comic obsessed with securing a spot on a TV show hosted by national talk-show host Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis). Constantly rebuffed, the somewhat unstable Pupkin takes some drastic actions, which skate along the edge of funny and disturbing. Many regard this as one of Scorsese's most underrated films, but I wouldn't place it with his top work, and I'm not too keen on the performances either, particularly the rather forced scenes between Lewis and Sandra Bernhard. Nevertheless, as the world continues to drown in a sea of execrable reality TV, it remains an interesting, prescient movie about (wannabe) fame and the commentary on the ugly side of celebrity is more relevant than ever. Also, am I the only one to think Rupert's comedy routine wasn't half-bad - certainly funnier than anything James Corden has done and he's never off the friggin' TV!

De Niro facial hair rating : No beard, but aptly enough for Rupert, a sad little moustache. Fail.

So, turns out De Niro was pretty good back in the old days. Hurray! And I did remember some bits and pieces, once the old brain cells got jogged. So my memory must be all right! Hurray! Now, gotta rush on I'm afraid, I have to go and write up a triple bill of Robert De Niro 80s movies for my blog.

No comments:

Post a Comment