• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

An analysis of how narrative and genre features create meaning and generate response in the opening of Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas. Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

An analysis of how narrative and genre features create meaning and generate response in the opening of Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas. Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas is based on the culture of organized gang crime in New York. The gangster genre from the 1920s up until the early 1930s was extremely popular because most urban, ethnic and working class audiences shared gangster's desire to attain the American dream. A central motif of Howard Hawks 'Scar face' is a neon sign that states 'the world is yours' and the contemporary audience shared this dream. Typical of the genre the close knit Italian American community introduced at the beginning of the film by the voice over of the protagonist Henry Hill which is later taken over by his wife Karen as he starts to lose control of his life. The classic early genre made no attempt to camouflage their greedy motives and the audience were attracted to their blunt honesty. Martin Scorsese taps into this enjoyment of gangster of the gangster's ability to do what the audience can onlydream about. ...read more.

Middle

By witnessing Henry Hills innocence and naivety during his younger teenage years the audience are more likely to engage with his story. The use of voiceover is more of a convention of film noir than classic gangster genre. In 'Goodfellas' as Hill's life unravels he even loses control of the narrative roles as his wife Karen takes over certain scenes. The mise en scene in the opening sequence goes along way in explaining the mafia mystique. It is clear to the audience gangsters are dressed in silk shirts, they drive expensive Cadillac's The lives of those members of Paulis mob who populate the cab stand is juxtaposed to Henrys home which is small and crowded. The use of low angle shots and freeze frames as his Dad beats him with his belt is in a way the most disturbing depiction of violence in the opening scene Henrys casual acceptance of his Fathers behaviour again suggests that this is a world that is unfamiliar to the average person and once in a while "Ill have to take a beating but by then I didn't care. ...read more.

Conclusion

The voice over delivered in the past tense implies that the film will follow a rise and fall narrative "It was a glorious time and wise guys were everywhere". Henrys information regarding the cautious ways in which Pauli lives his life for example not owning a telephone and only meeting up with one person is ironic considering Henrys drug fuelled recklessness which later on leads to his final arrest. The opening indicates the excitement of being a gangster. Scorsese brings a twist to these conventions that make the film and his characters more appealing to the audience as they seem like ordinary people. Scorsese demythologises the gangster world, much of what initially attracts the young Henry is a charade, as the narrative unfolds we see relationships deteriorate as greed and paranoia take hold as characters move from loyalty to betrayal. Normally the protagonist invariably dies in a hail of bullets, Henry returns to a normal anonymous lifestyle he was trying to escape. A fate that to him, seems worse then death. He also shows no remorse, 'I was an average nobody. I ad to live my life like a shnook'. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Films section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Films essays

  1. How do mise en scene and cinematography create meaning and affect audience response within ...

    There is blood all over the bed and all of their clothes. There is a lot of blood in this sequence and cleverly the director has got all three actors to wear white tops. This makes the appearance of blood much more dramatic as it shows up a lot more

  2. We were asked to interpret the movie El Arbole Seco meaning The Dry/Withered Tree, ...

    La familia tendr� The family is going que desalojar la zona donde pr�ximamente se construir� un gran bloque de pisos. to leave the area soon because a large block of flats will be built there .This Su familia ser� la �ltima en abandonar la zona, puesto que sus vecinos se

  1. How do mise-en-scene, sound and editing create atmosphere and generate an audience response to ...

    point of view of Chuck; the audience share the fear of his precarious situation. The director's conscious omission of any long shots of the plane from outside of the cockpit, never allows the audience to asses the crash clearly and objectively which creates even more tension and unpredictability.

  2. Explore the use of genre and narrative conventions in the opening sequence of Guy ...

    The character Tom takes a large amount of money out of an oven an action which immediately causes us to think there is crime involved, because in our life experience and cultural knowledge nobody keeps �25,000 in their oven. As the money is taken out of the oven the camera

  1. Focus on how one or more of the mise-en-scene, performance, cinematography, editing and sound ...

    Once Lawrence shoots Alex, he breaks down and cries saying "there, I've done it, now show them to me." The sobs in between sentences show his upset. The character Zep enters the room and we can hear the anger in Lawrence voice as he shouts.

  2. Does the closing sequence of Goodfellas (Scorsese, 1990) adhere to the narrative and generic ...

    When Henry breaks down and cries and is comforted by Karen, there is a contrast with the typical part a women plays in a generic gangster film; gangster movies are usually centred on men, women generally play the marginal although usually significant part of the mother, the wife or the mistress.

  1. Describe The Elements Of Style And Narrative Applied To The Films "Hard Candy" And ...

    Jeff denies the accusation, and Hayley begins to torture him in a cat and mouse game. Hard Candy begins with a chat-room style sequence, which is clearly a flirtatious one between the two characters. You quickly gather the two are about to meet up through the on-screen conversation.

  2. Children of Men Analysis Opening Scene

    not entirely wish to encounter, like with the main character being shocked and spooked in some way, this is also referred to in the way he puts alcohol in his drink and this indicated he is a rather rough man, with an attitude if he is upset in some way.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work