2021 Blind Spot Series: Mean Streets
What I knew going in: The basic premise.
Charlie (Harvey Keitel) is a small time criminal in Brooklyn, He's in love with Teresa (Amy Robinson) who is family doesn't approve us because she has epilepsy, and he spends a good amount of time trying to reel his sort of friend/fellow criminal Johnny Boy (Robert De Niro) from being the walking dumpster fire that he is. Charlie wants to rise in the ranks, but everything seems to be working against him.
I've been trying to go back and catch some of Martin Scorcese's earlier work. Last year, I got around to Raging Bull, and I knew that Mean Streets was going to be next. I had to laugh while watching this, because it's the first time I've thought Scorcese's direction was bad. Obviously it's one of his earliest films so he was still trying to find his footing at this point, but it's easily the least polished of any of his films I've watched.
For me, the only thing making this film worth watching is Harvey Keitel. He's great in it. Very energetic and even though Charlie is nowhere near likable, he makes him easy to watch. De Niro is good as well, but he's not in the film very much. He shows up every now and then bursting with messy bitch energy. The real letdown for me was how women are treated. They were merely used as plot devices and nothing more.
I think this is an important watch in Scorcese's filmography. We have to start somewhere, and it's nice to see how far he's come directing wise. Still, I don't think I'll ever watch this again.
Recommended: Yes (for those reason)
Memorable Quote: "I can't say that word..." Charlie - Harvey Keitel