If one looks towards America, far in the distance, from the ground of European cinema, it is difficult to tell apart Scorsese’s films from those of superheroes. Searching among the high budget films, among those which invest most of the resources in promotion and special effects – to the point of making them alike -, those that belong to the star system, those that promote tired concepts of the good and the evil, those addressed to the biggest audiences and those with spectacular plots without connection with real-life whatsoever, it is impossible to find the Irishman, but just because is perfectly well integrated in the group.
It would be a possibility to consider that Disney has hired Scorsese to declare against superhero movies, to start that polemic and to allow Marvel to reply his elitist opinions with despite, and appeal therefore to the right of low culture and of people amusing themselves consuming phantasy – to call it something. An easy and cheap way to promote ones and others. This strategy cannot be surprising, coming from a country in which most political life is devoted to convincing people that there exist differences between the two governing parties.
As part of the advertising campaign, the goody director puts the ridiculous request to the public of no watching the film on small screens. It would be pathetic if the ulterior motive of the whole operation weren’t the film to be watched on mobile phones. Scorsese’s most pressing desire was to achieve the wide distribution that only those platforms could offer and to satisfy it, he signed with Netflix. He had to invent a plot – a gimmick – that imposed a spend out of proportion and that could justify the drop of traditional production companies, all for the shake of “uncompromised creative freedom”. The rejuvenation of the actors by digital techniques is, in what to cinema respects – the seventh art -, unnecessary, disturbing and clumsy. ¿To rejuvenate Robert de Niro in order to him saying a sentence to the camera as he already uttered when he was thirty, and with the same delivery? ¿And why that actor, and not somebody younger, with an appearance easier to age? The film production would have been too uncostly for the purpose.
I read in social networks somebody saying that actors are great in the film. It is not surprising, as they are playing themselves in roles they have done many times – they feel so comfortable that sometimes even they exchange their roles, and Pacino plays de Niro and vice versa.
In the same goody-hypocrite spirit, Scorsese claims for the need of watching the film in one go, without cutting in ordered chapters – as some naïve fans have suggested – and that is also ridiculous: actually, in a film of ill-favoured machos like this, it doesn’t matter what point you start watching that there is highly possible the first thing you see is a guy killing another in a creative and brutal fashion. To that comes the “accumulation of details”.
Anytime that an instance of European cinema offers me an artistic experience, these reflections – normally drowsy – are awakening again, about the arrogance, the injustice and the impudence that carries the American culture imperial apparatus. As for vehicle of oppressing and capitalist ideologies, of stealthy infiltration, Netflix makes look the Hollywood studios like charities.