With a title like The King of Comedy I had some expectations about this movie. The biggest one was that this was a comedy movie starring Robert de Niro which was directed by Martin Scorcese. With my lack of investigation about a movie before seeing it (which basically comes down to looking a poster and an IMDB score) it turned out that my assumption was incorrect. It’s more Taxi Driver than Taxi.
With this movie Scorcese looks at the obsession of becoming a celebrity. Rubert Pupkin (Robert De Niro) has a big dream of making it. He’s a grown man, but still lives at home with his mother. He has transformed the basement in his personal TV show and has a plan to get his 15 minutes of fame. That plan turns out to be a unique one.
I have seen Robert de Niro in a lot of movies, but his role here has to be one of his best. Initially he comes across as a very sympathetic character, but as the movie progresses he turns out to be an obsessed man who only has one goal in mind and because of that has lost all sense of reality and no longer understands rejection. He sells himself as a great comedian, but you as a viewer you don’t get to see him perform, which makes you wonder. Scorcese seems to know this and in a very memorable scene your curiosity and patience are rewarded. This movie isn’t mentioned a lot when it comes to Scorcese’s best work, but it ranks high on my list. King of Comedy might not offer what has been advertised on the package, but in this case that isn’t a bad thing at all.