“It’s important not to indicate. People don’t try to show their feelings, they try to hide them.” — Robert De Niro

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.

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2 Responses to “It’s important not to indicate. People don’t try to show their feelings, they try to hide them.” — Robert De Niro

  1. Johnny says:

    Hey Sheila, it’s been a while! As for my thoughts on Mr. De Niro, for me he’s become so iconic that it’s almost difficult to talk about him (and his performances) objectively. It’s as if everyone knows he’s one of the greatest but he rarely gets analyzed, you know? One of my favourite performances of his has to be his character in Meet the Parents. Anyways, I’ll definitely give “Stone” a watch. De Niro AND Norton in the same movie? Yes, please!

    • sheila says:

      Hey Johnny!! Good to see you!

      Totally agree that “everyone knows he’s great” is a THING that happens with him so in a weird way he’s taken for granted. Even under-rated. It’s not fair.

      He’s sooooooo funny in Meet the Parents – I love him in comedic roles.

      Stone is, however, NOT a comedy. It’s some bleak shit. In a way it’s as brilliant a character study as Travis Bickle – only this is the middle-aged failed-disappointed man instead of a young psycho. But he goes just as deep and reveals just as much – it’s so vulnerable – but also unbearable. It’s a very difficult watch! I have no idea how I missed it – I have Glenn Kenny to thank for writing about it so powerfully in his book on De Niro. I was like “WELL. I must see THAT right NOW.”

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