When I began my venture into the world of great American films as a young adolescent, Martin Scorsese was an inevitable filmmaker of interest.
However, I remember watching Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, and GoodFellas and finding them heartless and cold. Of course, I recognized they were very well-made films, but they lacked the warmth a 13 year old recognized as the merits of a fulfilling film.
Unlike his contemporaries–Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, to mention some of the best–Scorsese didn’t seem to care about being able to uplift or inspire. Say what you will, but Coppola made sure we felt the heartbreaking decay of Michael Corleone’s once-moral soul, especially in his final shot in The Godfather: Part II.
It took me a while to realize that Scorsese didn’t care too much about sentimentality. Well, it took me several viewings of Taxi Driver and GoodFellas on Sunday afternoons and rainy days to completely fall in love with Scorsese’s gritty, gunshot universe. It’s not about being the hero–it’s about the American dream gone wrong.
But what makes his films so brilliant was that you can feel his immense love for the art of film pulsing on the screen–and it happens to be dangerously contagious. That is a rare quality.
Which brings me to Hugo, Scorsese’s foray into the family genre.
I knew Scorsese was going to make Hugo, but I didn’t see the trailer until I went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 a while ago. And the trailer moved me, not because it looks like a moving film (it does look like a moving film), but because I was so extremely happy that Scorsese, once again, was proving that he was an extraordinarily versatile director and of course, one of the best directors of his generation.
While his films about emotionally volatile individuals may top “best of” lists and is often what he is the most well-known for, Scorsese has shown that he is willing to try something different. Over the years, he has made Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (a well-acted, early Scorsese), The Age of Innocence (brilliant and one of my favorite films), and Kundun (admittedly, far from his best).
I like directors who are daring and unafraid to explore different genres. Scorsese is one of them. That’s why I’ve grown to love him.
So it frustrates me that certain people (namely those on the IMDb forums) seem to feel that Scorsese is selling out. Scorsese bought the rights to the novel Hugo was originally based on a few years ago. I highly doubt he would personally buy the rights to a novel that he didn’t care much for. I’m certain that, no matter how the film turns out, I do believe that Scorsese was passionate about the project and was not just making it to finance his other more serious an adult films.
Who said family films can’t be quality films? I’m not saying that I’m sure Hugo will be a wonderful film, considering I haven’t read the book or seen the movie, but I find Scorsese undeserving of these criticisms.
Because he is Martin Scorsese, after all. Widely regarded as one of the greatest directors of all time. An Academy Award winning director with seven other nominations to his name. He can make whatever he wants at this point and still be considered one of the very best.
Here is the Hugo trailer: