“The Irishman” review: another Scorsese gangster classic

Al Pacino in “The Irishman.”(Netflix)

“The Irishman” was my most anticipated film of the year, and it did not disappoint.

The film is about Frank Sheeran and how he works his way up in the ranks of a Pennsylvania mob. The film’s structure is similar to “Goodfellas” with its narration and jumps through time; the movie attempts to tell a years’-long story, which is part of the reason why it was so long.

When the film was announced, I was excited to see that Robert de Niro was partnering up with Martin Scorsese again; the pair hasn’t worked on a film together since 1995’s “Casino.” This is also the first film Oscar-winner Joe Pesci has had a major role in since 2010, and this was also the first time Al Pacino has worked with Scorsese in both of their 50-year-long careers.

All three of these actors give incredible performances, mainly because they all have to act young again. The actors portrayed themselves like they were 30 years younger, but also have to act their current age during other parts of the movie.

But the thing that made the most buzz about the film was the de-ageing CGI used. The work done on De Niro, Pesci and Pacino is actually incredible – the actors truly look natural and real.

Something that might turn people off to the film is the three-and-a-half-hour-long runtime. On top of that, the film is a slow burn. To some, this is going to be a hard movie to watch, but I found it riveting. If you watch the film with no distractions and truly pay attention, the film will grip you from beginning to finish.

This is because Scorsese is doing something that he started doing with his previous film “Silence.” That is making sure that the main character has a complete and satisfying story. Scorsese has done this in the past with films like “Raging Bull” and “The Last Temptation of Christ,” but now more than ever has it been something that he is really striving for. Even though I love “Goodfellas” and “The Departed,” the depth of the characters is not something that is applauded about those films. With “The Irishman,” Sheeran has a complete arch that comes to an emotional conclusion.

The final act of the film is also phenomenal. Suspense and emotion combine to create a gripping conclusion. The film is edited by long-time Scorsese collaborator and Oscar winner Thelma Schoonmaker. Saying she did an outstanding job is like saying the next “Star Wars” movie is going to make a ton of money at the box office: it’s a given.

While I loved this film, I do have one issue. While I think the actors do a great job portraying themselves younger than they are, there is one scene that is not convincing at all. The scene is right outside a market when De Niro is beating the shop owner senseless. The problem is that it was an unedited wide shot and it was more than obvious that De Niro wasn’t actually touching the store owner; this could have been hidden with a few more cuts and camera angles but it wasn’t.

“The Irishman” is another masterpiece in Scorsese’s long track record. While the film is a long slow burn, it is made up for by being an in-depth and emotional look at Frank Sheeran.

Grade: A

How to watch “Irishman” as a mini-series

The “Irishman” is long, and a lot of people don’t have the time (or desire) to watch it all in one sitting. Here is how to split the film up into a satisfying mini-series.

“Episode One”

Watch from the start of the movie to 49 minutes in. Stop when Jimmy Hoffa ends the phone call.

“Episode Two”

Watch from 49 minutes in to 1:40. Cut when Joey the Blond is introduced.

“Episode Three”

Watch from 1:40 to 2:47:30. Stop when Frank leaves the house.

“Episode Four”

Watch from 2:47:30 to the movie’s end.

Story by Jake Ditto



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