I haven’t written about the majority of his roles – not for lack of admiration (and in some cases, awestruck wonder) – but here is what I have written:
I included his “you talkin’ to me” scene in my gigantic piece for Oscilloscope on scenes where men look at themselves in the mirror. I mean, it’s really the Grand Master of them all.
When Taxi Driver was restored for its 35th anniversary, I went to see it at the press screening – the colors of that film are overwhelming – and then wrote about it on my site.
Additionally, when I interviewed Dan Callahan about his excellent books, The Art of American Screen Acting, volumes 1 and 2, we discussed De Niro at length. I think Callahan’s chapter on De Niro in Volume 2 is one of the best things written about the actor – who is a difficult subject.
The recent thrill of my life was writing and narrating a video-essay to be included on Criterion’s 4k release of Raging Bull.
My video-essay is in the special features of the DVD/Blu release, and for Criterion subscribers it’s streaming on the website. I did a deep DEEP dive into Robert De Niro’s work, much of it was a re-tread, since we (my group of friends and I) were obsessed with him as college-age acting students. We weren’t fans. We STUDIED him. So I watched it all. I read all the Scorsese books. There aren’t too many interviews with De Niro and he’s not particularly articulate about his process. The greats rarely are. But it was a glorious experience, and even after I handed in my draft of the video-essay, I kept going on chronologically, moving past Raging Bull and on into the 80s and 90s. I’m back on the Elvis train now, so I had to take a step back with the De Niro project, but I do want to shout out Stone, a 2010 movie I missed when it first came out. Missing it was a major error, because this performance should be counted as one of his greatest. See it.