Spotlight- Robert De Niro

Roberto has long been a highly rated actor and he has given us some of the best performances of all time, without a doubt if he was cast in a movie it was going to be a hit and certainly unmissable, lately his career has turned into a joke and while I appreciate that it’s easy acting for him I can’t personally see him make a fool out of himself with a lot of these modern comedies but I can still appreciate the older most concrete films. I think one of the reasons why his comic roles don’t always gel well with me is that in most of his films he’s so serious and dark, when he gives “that stare” he makes me quake in my boots…

05.Once upon a time in America (1984)

Once upon a time in america
One of the greatest (and possibly) longest coming of age movies in which De Niro manages to get to star in while being only one of a gang.. Yeah he’s done it again. He does an epic job of it as well, even though the earlier part of the film was acted by Scott Tiler,  by the time Robert  steps in he is an opium addict trying to piece a few things together after coming out of prison and his character is incredibly flawed. But he managed to pull off all of these guises of a tortured man and even though his methods seem sound on certain occasions he loses it and changes into a bit of a monster. Again another De Niro film with little to no faults. 10/10

04.Angel Heart (1987)

angel heart
A true life changing movie for me, i watched and rewatched this film many times as a child and even inspired me to name my sister after one of the characters, yeah she’s called Lou (I jest… ) But as a Neo Noir you really couldn’t do much better, this film is steeped in a dark occult atmosphere, really twisting the knife as the plots thickens. A investigator called Harry Angel (
Mickey Rourke) is hired by Louis Cyphre (Robert De Niro) to track down an old crooner which leads Angel to New Orleans, there he discovers a world submerged in the black arts and that he wasn’t a random choice and has more to do with this disappearance than he could ever imagine. Robert is amazing in this film, he only has a few short scenes but is as pivotal and he is memorable. Immaculate not only in appearance, slick, not only with his tongue, his inspiration for the role came from Martin Scorsese. I would have to say that whatever happened between the two left a lasting impression 10/10

03.Casino (1995)

I know a lot of people think that this film is over ratted but I honestly can’t find fault with it and I certainly can’t just watch it once and forget about it, I usually have to give the disc away just to take a break from it, a classic mobster movie, while glamourised and truthfully hyped up, it’s what movies are there for, to give us an impression a heightened sense of the reality to entice us into a story, which is what the film gets shot down for, but all I want is more.
De Niro plays Ace Rothstein (actually Frank Rosenthal) who is given a casino to look after for the mob whose connections with other mobsters including the pint sized feist ball Nicky Santoro, the mob manage to fuck up their own game through corruption. It’s excessively violent for a storyline that doesn’t call for it but for me it’s just added spice. It has a lotta tough guy dialogue and is music heavy but it’s well picked tunes so no one can argue. De Niro is just so serious throughout the film and while not on screen his narration of the film is just as brilliant as his acting and any person who can a salmon pink suit or walk around with sock suspenders without turning into a giggling jelly he should get some kudos for that alone. His character isn’t as diverse as other films but he’s very strong from his explosive intro until his cruddy end. 10/10

02.Ronin (1998)

Now this is a strange addition I know, one of his top 5 performances, well yes I believe so… It’s a great thriller, with some amazing characters even counting Sean Beans fuckup character, Spence who gets ambushed with a cup of coffee. For some of the time I felt that Robert was the only person who was trying to act, even Reno seemed a little in reserve. It’s sharp and to the point, even a little scary at times and the whole film is a testament that you don’t need bucket loads of effects to make an action movie.

01.Deer Hunter (1978)

deer hunger
One of the first films I ever watched with Robert De Niro but I had no clue who he was, I was so teeny and young I had no recollection of him, I do however remember Christopher Walken vividly, in my teens I re-watched this epic and was amazed to see the Robert De Niro I had grown to love as such a youngster! It was incredibly obvious that from the beginning of his career that De Niro has an uncanny ability to really take over and own a movie. His pivotal role in this tragic story, a few friends spend their last few days together before shipping out the the Vietnam war, one gets married and two managed to be kept as prisoners of war together and only one is rescued, On returning to the world everyone and everything he knew has been stripped away and his only connection to the past that might save his sanity is finding his lost buddy. Lots of poetic quotes, some beautiful scenery and a unique look at a small community and the effects of war on the average man. His performance is sterling throughout as his character speaks for thousands of men who returned from war to an alien homeland and those who craved to go back, often mimicked but never surpassed this film continues to thrill and educate as seems to have influenced Out the furnace  (2013) in an obscure manner. 10/10

I’m sure this will just be one of many lists about this epic actor as he managed to pile quite a few films under his belt before his slide into comedic obscurity.


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