Like his big actor studio rival Al Pacino, Robert De Niro has not really made the leap into the new millennium. He did not accept – or was not offered – worthy age roles such as those played by Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman or Robert Duvall.
The best actor in the world
Robert De Niro was once the greatest actor (not a movie star!) In the world. A synonym for versatility and the much-cited but often misunderstood method acting. In the 1970s his specialty was the taciturn outsider, in which there is a mighty seething, but who cannot articulate itself – except in violence, see “Taxi Driver” (1976), see “Deer Hunter” (1978), see “How a wild bull “(1980). When he got out of his mind it quickly became psychotic, like in “King of Comedy” (1982) or “Cape of Fear” (1991).
In the 90s he entered his next career phase: as the gangster par excellence. Together with his regular director and friend Martin Scorsese, he explored the mafia family in “Good Fellas” and “Casino”, also in “Heat” and “Jackie Brown” he was the bad guy. With the parody of his image in “Reine Nervensache” (1999) and “Meine Braut, ihr Vater und ich” (2000), he suddenly landed in the comedy drawer from the turn of the millennium, from which he can no longer get out (or does not want to) to this day. .
Way out as a gangster?
The only director who De Niro currently offers good roles is David O. Russell. In “Silver Linings” and “Joy” he played the father of a main character, in roles that, because of their normal talkativeness, do not really fit De Niro. Still, there was another Oscar nomination for “Silver Linings”.
Another film by David O. Russel shows what De Niro is really capable of. In “American Hustle” the actor has a cameo, of course as a gang boss. With just a few strokes, De Niro lets a threat appear that makes the viewer feel cold. But De Niro is no longer allowed to play such roles.
But don’t worry, there is a silver lining. The old master currently has six titles in production. Among others with colleagues like Christian Bale and Rami Malek. 2022 could be a successful year for the show icon.