Remember the last time Robert De Niro gave a good to great performance? That’s the hurdle for Being Flynn, Paul Weitz‘s adapatation of Nick Flynn’s memoir Another B*llshit Night in Suck City. Told from the perspective of the father (De Niro) and his son (Paul Dano) this looks like the sort of thing that should come out in award season. Which makes the film’s Spring 2012 release date interesting. Check out the trailer…

This could play like gangbusters, but the big question is what De Niro is this? At best you could say he gave some okay performances over the last couple years. He didn’t embarrass himself in Limitless, he seemed mostly engaged. And in some smaller roles he’s been okay.

But going through his filmography, there hasn’t been a great Robert De Niro performance in the 21st century. You can make a case for the against-casting work in films like Analyze This or Meet the Parents, or his solid anchoring of Ronin, but it’s 1997′s Jackie Brown where he last seemed to give a full bodied performance. Which is almost fifteen years old.

Perhaps those standards are too high for an aging artist. Hopefully this movie won’t be dismissed as “Another Bullsh*t Film in Suck City.” One can hope.

What’s your favorite De Niro performance?