It isn’t really possible to write about this film without acknowledging the plot twist; that di Caprio’s character is not a US marshal but an inmate of the asylum. I’m not sure whether that was the reason I didn’t like the movie as, having read the book, I knew that all along. I admired the cinematography and set design but failed to get engaged in the narrative (the dream sequences are excellent too).
It wasn’t simply that I knew the story that caused the ‘deja vu’ throughout as the film is crammed with references to movies – see Roy’s posting for some excellent extracts. Although most of the references are from the ’40s and ’50s I’d add Nic Roeg’s Don’t Look Now (UK, 1973) and Virginia Woolf’s novel To the Lighthouse. What’s the purpose of all these allusions? Is it simply to make us admire Scorsese’s, and our own, cineliteracy? If that’s the case then we can accuse the film of postmodern frippery and forget it; that’s certainly my feeling.
There are reports that Scorsese’s considering Taxi Driver 2 – unless it’s an April Fool’s – so maybe he’s come to the end of his creativity.