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Criminality and Law in Goodfellas

            In this essay I will be considering how Martin Scorsese's, Goodfellas (1990) presents a naive attitude towards crime and its relation to violence through the main character, Henry Hill's view on the mafia. I will be using examples from a specifically selected clip from the film of Henry, in his younger self, who at that age, is intoxicated by the power, money and material gains that 'the life' could give him, but doesn't yet realise the deceitful nature of the mafia - the excitement you have, and the big bucks that go along with that, mirrored by the threat of death at any time, even at the hands of your own friends or family.
             In American cinema particularly, it is a claim that there is a common preoccupation with crime and criminals. Criminals are portrayed as anti-hero's. This can mean that even though they are the bad guys, we instantly like them. The ideological awareness of American gangsters is challenged in Goodfellas. Gangsters are the bad guys so, we are expected not to like them, but we do, especially through the captivating, yet naive perspective of Henry Hill. I will be supporting the assertion that we see a naive attitude towards criminality and law through the clever examples of cinematography, mis-en-scene, sound and other elements of stylistic choices made by Scorsese in this specific scene.
             The first shot that introduces us to this scene is an extreme close-up of Henry's blue eyes staring intently at something in particular that he is interested in. The camera slowly zooms out into a brief close up of Henry's face, then cuts straight into a long shot of Henry's house, with his silhouette showing through the blinded windows, establishing the position of Henry and the anonymous subject he is looking at. A panning motion, is used to show the audience, through a subjective perspective, that it is night-time, the community have all gone inside for the night and eventually, it shows the mobsters who socialise across the road from Henry's home.

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