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The film no doubt entails a certain narrative trajectory, a recording of action through real space rather than a purely cinematic event at the site — as it were — of the screen. And, in some sense, we identify with Keitel, even if he’s grotesque and morally questionable at best.
Here is how I feel about it: books are books and movies are movies. Movies will never have the same effect as books, and likewise books will never have quite the same effect as movies. They are two different mediums with their own unique strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, their narratives have to be constructed in two different ways.
This is not some damning condemnation of perceived racism in the movie industry, this is more along the lines of a sad observation that, somewhere along the way, the cocaine that flowed in studio boardrooms like rivers during the hedonistic insanity of the seventies must have run dry and not a single producer left has the balls to take the risk of making a movie out of a story so emotionally complex and staggering in its artistic scope.