The theme of psychological instability is quite prominent in Scorsese’s films. In Taxi Driver, the beginning emphasizes this by an uncomfortable close up on the eyes of the character, essentially getting into his mind, and bright lighting effects conveying his mentality. In Raging Bull (1980) this is portrayed by the use of slow tracking shots and fuzzy shots showing the unclear state of mind of Jake La Motta. Scorsese also uses points of view shots in order for the audience to really get inside the mind of the characters.Scorsese used these kinds of effects often in all his films, the slow tracking shot being one of his most used and therefore can be associated with him and his films.
The characters of Scorsese’s films are all similar. Travis in Taxi Driver, Jake in Raging Bull and Rupert in King of Comedy are all lonely, isolated insecure men with psychological issues. Each of them regret things in their lives and are looking for redemption.The theme of violence is quite prominent in Scorsese films. Most obviously in Raging Bull, about a boxer, Jake La Motta. Not only is there violence in the boxing ring, but also we see Jake beating up his wife and also attacking his brother after he believes that his brother and wife are having an affair. There is a lot of violence in Taxi Driver; the film became quite controversial as many believed some of the scenes of violence were actually too violent.We see Travis (De Niro) shooting a would be robber and the store assistant attacking the dead body.
Also near the end of the film a slow tracking shot goes from Travis’ body back through his line of violence to show bodies, blood and guns. Goodfellas (1990) is also very violent, the film begins with the main characters shooting a body in the boot of their car as he was supposed to be dead but wasn’t quite. Throughout Goodfellas there is much more violence, including the father beating up his son as his mother watches on.Another aspect which could make Scorsese an auteur is that he often works with the same people, he uses many of the same actors, mainly Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, and he also uses the same people off-screen, Paul Schrader provided the writing for many of Scorsese’s films, by doing this Scorsese made the films quite obvious that the films were his, they provided similar storylines, characters and themes. Both Tarantino and Scorsese are quite clearly auteurs; their films are recognizably theirs and have their ‘signature’ and ‘stamp’ across them.Although both Tarantino and Scorsese are considered to be auteurs, there is a question into whether they can actually be called an auteur if they had not written the films themselves as well as directing them. Neither director mentioned above wrote all of the screenplays for their films; however the main ideas and themes were theirs.
Scorsese used the same writer for his films, Paul Schrader, this essentially meant that all his films would have the same feel to them as the writer only has a limited style of writing, but without Scorsese’s direction these films may have come out completely different, for example Scorsese had a interest in psychopathy so liked to emphasize this and portray it often throughout his films, if a different director had been used then it is doubtful we would have seen as much as this within the film.The directors although they didn’t write the films had a close working relationship with their writers and therefore did have a huge influence over what happened. And could change things they weren’t happy with, saying this the screenplay of Raging Bull was credited to Schrader but was in fact changed quite a bit by Joe Cocks and the large script was largely written by De Niro and Scorsese and in fact turned out to be very different to Schrader’s original draft.Tarantino’s film Kill Bill was largely successful due to Uma Thurman’s influence, her acting and cooperation in directing the film should be credited. By saying this it could then be argued that in fact Tarantino is not a true auteur as the work was not wholly his, he did not write the script and act as well. However he did largely have the final say in what happened and how the film went and most of the film was directed solely by him, it can’t be said that Uma Thurman helped with the whole of the film. Her performance however did make the film work very well.
Samuel L Jackson in Pulp Fiction had a great screen presence, without this the film would almost definitely not have worked in the way that it did. He moved the storyline on and brought humor and violence to that film and his character. This suggests that a large part of the success of the film is down to him. However his presence in the film was directed by Tarantino and if Tarantino was not happy he could say so, he had the power to over-see the film and its production.But it is true that without these actors Tarantino’s films would not have been what they were, however important Tarantino’s part in the making of his films was he needed the help of other people in order to make it work. Scorsese’s film Taxi Driver was hugely successful, Paul Schrader’s script was very important in this success. Without the script there is no way the film would have been the same, even if Scorsese did have the ideas, the could not have written the same script, as Schrader wrote largely from his own experiences.
This would mean film was more personal to Schrader then Scorsese.Robert De Niro played a huge part in all of Scorsese’s films; he appeared in Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, King of Comedy and Goodfellas. His performances in each made the films something special; he bought the character to life in a way a portrayed the characters in a way that another actor couldn’t. His award winning performance in Raging Bull was obviously quite spectacular and thanks to this the film was greatly successful. But Scorsese’s directing was also needed for this performance to work the way in did, the same can be said for Pesci’s performance in Goodfellas.Both Scorsese and Tarantino are considered auteurs, which to some extent they are, but in order to get to this level they had to work with a team, such as writers and actors who assisted these directors in making their films.
Tarantino and Scorsese with the help of others used their skill of directing to create films which in turn turned them into auteurs. There can never be a true auteur, if we are saying that an auteur has to write the film, direct the film and act in the film, this is not possible. So it would seem that the type of auteur referred to when we talk about Scorsese and Tarantino is the truest form we can get.