Reading Film (Fall 2011)

a qwriting blog for ENG 110

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Investigative Proposal

October 24th, 2011 by Kaitlin Stevens · No Comments · 3 Investigative Proposal

Kaitlin Stevens

Assignment #3: Investigative Proposal


            I’m sure everyone has heard the name Robert DeNiro. He is arguably one of the greatest actors of our time. Many of his roles have been legendary ones, such as Travis Bickle in “Taxi Driver”, Sam ‘Ace’ Rothstein in “Casino”, and my personal favorite, James Conway in “Goodfellas”. It goes without saying that DeNiro has left his mark as an icon playing gangster roles, but the question I pose is: Which role does DeNiro grasp and immortalize better? Jimmy Conway or Sam Rothstein?

Of course, both roles played are unforgettable. DeNiro is an unbelievably talented actor. However, it is obvious that one of the roles had to be more significant in his career than the other. By investigating and analyzing this specific subject, I will be learning more about one of my favorite actors (one of America’s favorite actors for  that matter) and digging deep into what traits he possesses that make him such an impressive actor. I will be able to pinpoint the certain characteristics DeNiro masters in his acting method.

I plan on watching both movies numerous times and using skills I’ve learned in both this class and my Film History class to examine and interpret the qualities both characters possess, and the qualities that separate them from each other, therefore making one “better” than the other. I will read multiple reviews on both movies by acclaimed critics and try to understand their opinions on both characters and performances to determine which they seem to prefer. In addition, I will read both books that the movies are based on to get a better sense of what the characters are really like and offer my opinion and arguments on which character DeNiro did a better job of  grasping and why.

As I stated in the previous paragraph, some resources I will use are movie reviews and the books the films are based on. I also plan on researching the director of both films, Martin Scorsese, and seeing if I can use any opinions or statements of his to help get an answer to my proposed question. I am going to research the making of both of the films in depth to see which film DeNiro put more work and effort into. I believe that by researching this topic I will be able to give DeNiro fans and just people who are curious about his work a better sense of which role could be classified as his “defining role”, and additionally figure out which role he enjoyed playing more and why. 

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