Title: The Irishman
Film Release Date: November 27th, 2019
Studio: TriBeCa Productions
Director: Martin Scorsese
Release Format: Theatrical
The Irishman is possibly the most divisive film that I’ve viewed this year for a mix of reasons that places a definitive period, marking the end of classic mobster movies.
The Irishman is about the life of a hitman for the mob, Frank Sheeran (Robert DiNiro), and the toll it takes on his life and those around him. One of those figures is Jimmy Hoffa who probably had the biggest impact on his life and
The story subverts typical mob movie tropes by instead telling a story about mortality and what it’s worth to outlive your enemies. It is really fascinating when it gets to that point, but only then as before the plot is a take it or leave it feeling.
This film is an excellent technical level, from some creative shots and transitions to the ominous score in other scenes. Then, there is everything else left me feeling indifferent for a lot of it. Although this has an emotional climax that pulls everything together, I wish there was a less bloated way to get there.
There is a lot of unpack here. By unpack, I mean you are going to have camp on your couch for what seems like a week this long film. I was wondering at a point whether I was watching a film and not an entire season of a show.
The action here is few and far between but effective it usually hits you like an RKO out of nowhere. I developed a habit of flinching at points anytime someone was like “what are you gonna do about it?”. The different approach of quick shots and kills here is a nice change of pace to seeing a Tommy Gun blasted out a car window.
The story unfolds like someone’s grandma trying to cross the street, puzzlingly slow. The film is very methodical in the story it is trying to tell you about Frank’s life. While there is nothing like him making a sandwich for 20 minutes, what is here is not too far from that.
A lot of the scenes serve for the actors to chew up the scenery and give some great performances. Al Pacino is the standout of this film as the brash Jimmy Hoffa. He is an eccentric cult of personality you can’t help but gravitate towards every time he is on screen.
When speaking of great acting moments you can’t brush off the work De Niro put in on this one. This is a story about a guy who gave his life to the mob and every hardship that came with it. The way the personal connection with his family is changed are some of the most interesting parts of this film.
When The Irishman focuses on the intimate moment between characters it truly succeeds. The interactions are engaging, whether it be moments between Jimmy and Frank or the mob.
The CGI here is some of the best yet when it comes to the de-aging technology on Pacino and De Niro. This however only extends so far as there is some clear disconnect as the technology only makes him only look like he’s in his 40’s, meanwhile other mobsters call him “kid.” This impressive technology can’t make up for a hilarious scene where De Niro beats down a man, with the underwater like movements of a 70-year-old man.
I didn’t come out hating it, there are parts I definitely liked but I’m left feeling indifferent about this experience. I liked the ending and how emotionally resonant it was. For every one aspect I liked, there were three more that would rub me the wrong way.
Heavy Is The Head That Wears The Crown
Verdict: The Irishman is a film where I came out contemplating some of the subject matters that pop up throughout. Scorsese continues to show off why he is such a good director. Unfortunately, the material on the screen is bloated and could have used some heavy trimming.
The scenes here are filled with great acting and directing that is somewhat overshadowed by a long run time and a story that meanders to get to its conclusion. This is by no means a bad film, but a film you wouldn’t be missing much if you never saw it. Movies should make you want to see them again, not make you want a time machine to get back those lost hours.
What’s the best mobster story ever released? What is your favorite film from Scorsese? What roles would you like to see any of these actors play next? Leave your comments!
- Very emotional scenes
- Great acting and direction
- Way too long
- Slow pacing
- The majority focus on less interesting subjects