Martin Scorsese’s debut film feels like a film student’s first feature film. This is, not a good film.
Now can you see glimpses of the great director he would become? Yes. Are there things to appreciate about this movie? Yes. But that doesn’t make it something that is good on its own.
The film has no real narrative. I will be spoiling the plot here, but since it is a 50-year-old movie, I do not feel too bad about it. The idea is this guy meets a girl, he falls in love with her, but then he finds out she was raped, and for some reason that id a deal-breaker for him. But then he realizes he loves her anyway and forgives her, but she rightfully wants nothing to do with him after how he acted. And that is it. That is about all the depth there is to it.
I get that it is from a different time, but the whole premise of the story is kind of off-putting. The way the main character, J.R., played by a young Harvey Keitel, reacts to finding out his girlfriend, who doesn’t even get a name and is just listed as ‘Girl’, makes me just hate him as a person, and I do not care about his journey. There is little to like about him, and the female character gets so little development that you cant attach to her either.
I get nothing from the story. It’s just a story of two people who meet, they hit it off, but then the guy makes an ass out of himself and ruins it, and makes the woman feel terrible about himself because he does not know how to interact with people. Characters who are bad people and do not have social skills can be interesting, but J.R. isn’t, he is just kind of a prick.
Some of the movie is well shot, other parts are edited in a way that makes it hard to watch. But you do see the skill that Scorsese has in there. There are some long scenes that are all one take or at least heated to look like one take, that are very impressive from what was at the time an amateur director in Scorsese. But even still, there is very little from this movie that sticks with me.
Overall, it is good for a debut, but bad overall. I will never watch it again, and wouldn’t recommend anyone watch it, and it is more or less only good for the experience it offered Martin Scorsese, and well as Harvey Keitel, as both would go on to make much much better work. This gets 1 and a half stars.