The Portrayal of the Gangster Genre in American and British Cinema in 'Goodfellas' by Martin Scorcese and 'Layer Cake' by Matthew Vaughn

The Portrayal of the Gangster Genre in American and British Cinema in 'Goodfellas' by Martin Scorcese and 'Layer Cake' by Matthew Vaughn

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The Portrayal of the Gangster Genre in American and British Cinema in 'Goodfellas' by Martin Scorcese and 'Layer Cake' by Matthew Vaughn

The media has a vital role in the characterization of the gangster
genre and presents a particular image with which the audience forms
certain associations and expectations. For example, the use of
transport, clothing, language and weapons are key paradigms that are
executed to ensure that the gangster genre is presented the way one
would expect it to be. In terms of the characters and storyline,
generally gangsters are presented as wealthy, respected males with the
power to live life to the fullest through criminal means.

The way in which media representations of gangsters differ in American
and British cinema will be examined with reference to Martin
Scorcese’s 1990 film “Goodfellas” and Matthew Vaughn’s 2004 release,
“Layer Cake”. The aspects that will be looked at include the overall
storyline and the influence of the culture to which the gangsters
belong to, with reference to the commonly held stereotypes the
audience have grown to expect from this particular genre. Generally,
one expects a lot of violence and deceit which often leads to the main
character dying or managing to achieve some sort of redemption.
Overall, there are a variety of aspects covered within this particular
genre, such as themes of love, hate, friendship, betrayal, loyalty and
revenge.

The first film looked at is Goodfellas (1990) directed by Martin
Scorcese, a stylistic, hard-hitting true mobster story about three
‘wise guys’. The film is based upon the non-fictional book ‘Wise guy:
life in a mafia family’ by Nicholas ...


... middle of paper ...


...ny years now and there are a
multitude of similarities between films of this category. It is due to
the media’s provision of imagery that audience members are able to
identify gangsters and understand how they are supposed to act and
regardless of the cultural setting, the ideas remain the same to the
point where one can almost predict what will potentially happen and
when. Although film makers are able to keep the audience on their toes
and add compelling twists to their storylines it does not alter the
fact that, like most other genres, the main themes become easily
identifiable and therefore contain an element of predictability.

Bibliography

Books

‘Wise guy’: life in a mafia family, Nicholas Pileggi (1990)

Websites

www.mediaknowall.com

www.imdb.com

http://goodfellas.martin-scorsese.net/

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