Robert Redford

For Robert De Niro, fears of obsolescence, channeled into ‘The Comedian’ and constant work

For Robert De Niro, fears of obsolescence, channeled into ‘The Comedian’ and constant work

From the moment he first appears in the new film “The Comedian” as the washed-up stand-up Jackie Burke — quixotically self-loathing, unapologetically hacky, at times ferociously funny — Robert De Niro's presence poses a question. Is the actor hashing out an alternative view of performance, a kind of road-less-traveled of his own career?

This is, after all, a man who came to public attention more than 40 years ago in gritty pictures like “Mean Streets,” “The Godfather Part II” and “Taxi Driver” and  has averaged nearly two Oscar nominations — and a half-gazillion roles — each decade since. Perhaps this...

56°