***½/**** Image B+ Sound A- Extras A-
starring Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, David Proval, Amy Robinson
screenplay by Martin Scorsese and Mardik Martin
directed by Martin Scorsese
by Bill Chambers I had my suspicion that there is no archetypal Martin Scorsese fan perhaps confirmed for me after doing an oral presentation on him in my "American Cinema" class: A football jock taking the course as an elective sauntered up to me asking to borrow my tape of Mean Streets. He couldn't believe there existed anything like the scene I had just shown--the one where Harvey Keitel's Charlie takes Robert De Niro's Johnny Boy into the back room of their hangout to get to the bottom of Johnny Boy's unpaid dues--despite the strong scent of Abbott & Costello in its staccato rhythm. (For what it's worth, this is also the passage that convinced Warner execs to acquire the film.1) I immediately recognized the look in his eye, the Scorsese itch, and began to long for that first high, as they say; and I probably hope to become a mass enabler in reviewing Scorsese's work. Fitting that Mean Streets should be the catalyst for such nostalgia, marinated as it is in a mnemonic broth that makes the picture more explicitly autobiographical than Who's That Knocking At My Door, with Scorsese going so far as to use his own voice interchangeably with Keitel's when Charlie's narrating the piece (or, more precisely, when Charlie's talking to God).