De Niro: A Biography
John BaxterISBN: 0006532306; 978-0-00-653230-9;
According to prolific film biographer Baxter (The Hollywood Exiles, etc.), "Rage is Robert De Niro’s gift to the cinema." In this unauthorized, carefully researched biography, Baxter traces the enigmatic actor’s life, starting with his formative years in Greenwich Village, where De Niro tagged along with Italian street gangs and had a complicated relationship with his gay artist father, a fact that Baxter suggests has greatly informed the actor’s choice of morally conflicted characters. Using numerous interviews and anecdotes, Baxter sketches a picture that is never quite flattering, but is empathetic and fascinating. He tells De Niro’s story through the prism of the actor’s most notable cinematic endeavors (including Taxi Driver and Raging Bull) as well as through his biggest failures. As a result, the book is equal parts life story and film analysis. This works to great effect, since De Niro’s artistic choices, many of which involved physical transformations and psychological...