Between Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, Martin Scorsese took time out from bruising psychodramas to cram on MGM musicals and craft this brashly artificial homage – with added flayed emotions and semi-improvised ’70s acting.
As doomed lovers on the post-war jazz scene, Robert De Niro and Liza Minnelli set the tonal extremes – think John Cassavetes remixing Vincente Minnelli.
De Niro struggles to make sax-blower Jimmy Doyle more than boorish, but the booming score and dazzling set pieces intoxicate as Scorsese steers the musical into fresh, frictional turf. drink it up as a sensory feast, but brace yourself for the bitter aftertaste.
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