PERFORMING ARTS

The Films of Martin Scorsese: Gangsters, Greed, and Guilt

Rowman & Littlefield. Jul. 2020. 272p. ISBN 9781538127650. $35. FILM
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More thoughtful appreciation than criticism, this engaging title from San Juan (Akira Kurosawa) moves through Scorsese’s feature films (his many documentaries are not included) in chronological order, explaining the merits of each entry and, in many cases, why it falls where it does in his canon. Devoting roughly 10 pages to each title, San Juan effectively describes why Scorsese made the film and the movie’s impact on society and his career. Most important, he offers analysis that reads more like a well-considered blog post than another piece of dry criticism. While this extensively researched volume considers widely covered films such as Taxi Driver, The Last Temptation of Christ, and The Departed and cites major works on Scorsese published in the last 20 years, the author’s style is fresh and he brings new insights to the table.
VERDICT A clear, nuanced, and highly accessible primer to the films of one of America’s greatest directors.

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