Film Review: <em>The Irishman</em>
Nov 18 2019

Film Review: The Irishman

By: David Vicari

The Irishman is another mobster movie from filmmaker Martin Scorsese, the director of the masterful Goodfellas (1990) and Casino (1995). You would be mistaken, however, to think that this is just a rehash of Goodfellas, because it's not. The Irishman has a different style and tone, it contemplates aging, and the story is a recollection by a hitman.


Based on Charles Brandt's nonfiction book, I Heard You Paint Houses (The film's onscreen subtitle), this epic scale movie chronicles how, in the 1950s, working class Pennsylvania truck driver Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) becomes an enforcer for the mob, and how he later becomes friends with Teamster leader Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino).

The Irishman is three hours and 29 minutes, but it is so riveting that you don't notice the length. De Niro's subdued performance is just so good, as is Joe Pesci in the role of calm and collected Mafia boss Russell Bufalino, and Pacino is dynamic as the stubborn labor union leader. Then there are the two quiet but great performances by Lucy Gallina and Anna Paquin both playing Sheeran's daughter Peggy but at different ages.

The movie employs digital de-aging of actors De Niro,Pacino and Pesci so they can play younger versions of their characters. Yes, their faces look a little odd and waxy sometimes because of this process, but nothing can get in the way of great actors working at the top of their game.

As always, Scorsese puts in little fascinating details, like when Sheeran gives us a lesson on which gun is best to use for a hit and why.

This is yet another master work from Scorsese, and the film is made by digital streaming service Netflix. It is currently getting a limited theatrical run - I implore you to see it in a theater - then will begin streaming on Netflix on November 27, 2019.

★★★½ stars (out of four)

Film

Film Review: <em>A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood</em>
Film Review: <em>Frozen II</em>