#93: New York, New York

New York, New York (1977) — Dir. Martin Scorsese

Part of the Top 150 Films series

When I tell people that New York, New York is my favourite film directed by Martin Scorsese, I get one of two reactions: “Really?” and “Never heard of it!” Made after Taxi Driver and as a rebuke to the gritty realism for which Scorsese had become famous, the film is the best homage to classic Hollywood musicals. De Niro and Minnelli hit their highest notes in this film, delivering passionate performance powerhouses, complimenting and critiquing the audience’s expectations of them in these roles (Minnelli’s connection to her mother, and especially A Star Is Born; De Niro’s previous collaborations with Scorsese). The undersung star of this very undersung film, however, is László Kovács’ stunning cinematography. The film should be lauded for the opening tracking shot alone, but his use of light is a remarkable rebuke to the photography of the era, and brilliant update to the films that inspired this one.