The Irishman

The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019) dp Rodrigo Prieto, ed. Thelma Schoonmaker; Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel, Ray Romano

Frank Sheehan (Robert De Niro), narrates the story of his life nella Cosa Nostra, in particular in relation to the life and death of Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino), head of the Teamsters Union.

Apart from Al Pacino's lively performance, I found this rather dull. It is tightly edited, despite being 3.25 hours long, and Thelma Shoonmaker should get another Oscar to add to the three she's already won for her work on Scorsese films. The director apparently thought that all those characters and all those details should be in the film, and Thelma made it possible for it all to hum along nicely ... while you're watching. It's only some days later, thinking back, that I realise that I wasn't involved in much of it, and I can no longer remember much. I think he said it all in Goodfellas and we didn't need this film.

As he won't win Best Film for yet another flick about the mob, apparently he's going to give patriotism a go for the next Oscars, with a film about FDR.

Graham Fuller in Sight&Sound: The Irishman features bravura dolly and travelling shots and the use of intertitles humorously describing how various mobsters met their ends. But it is less stylised than most Scorsese films, and Robbie Robertson’s score is subdued, a few period pop songs aside. The mastery here is in Scorsese and editor Thelma Schoonmaker’s orchestration of Mob depredations, Hoffa’s rousing of the rank and file (in scenes packed with everyday physiognomies worthy of Elia Kazan) and the intimate talks between Sheeran, Bufalino and Hoffa, with Pesci’s quiet and subtle performance, a thing of beauty, balancing Pacino’s bellicose but charming one.

Owen Gleiberman in Variety: It would be a stretch to call The Irishman topical, yet in its way the film could hardly be more timely. It’s a vision of outrageous power flying too close to the sun. And when Pesci’s terse, demonically understated Bufalino, behind his death-shield horn-rims, tells Frank that the order has come down from on high, the movie gives off a resonating chill.

Anonymous director and Academy voter, quoted by IndieWire: "I loved The Irishman. I saw it on a big screen with an audience. Maybe The Irishman has dropped off from the lead because Netflix didn’t push the idea of seeing it on the big screen as hard as they did with Roma. If you looked at the metrics to see who watched The Irishman at home in installments, it would be shocking. I’d love to know who saw it in one sitting. The film loses its power, it’s not to be binged, but watched in one situation. I didn’t go to the bathroom once, it was fucking great. It’s something a little less special when it’s available on a platform in the land of stand-up specials and cooking shows, I honestly believe.
If The Irishman had been at the cinema it would still be in the conversation: it adds prestige. Maybe one reason it’s not cutting through as much as it should: it’s darker than Casino and Goodfellas, a more elegiac, profound movie in the Scorsese canon. I have an inkling it will not make it on the night. ...
[re Best Supporting Actor] Joe Pesci. He completely flies against Goodfellas with equal power by being incredibly quiet with terrifying authority. It’s great to see him back on the big screen after so many years. He’s both brilliant and different. I also love Al Pacino too of course. He gives that movie such a charge of energy."

References and links

IMDb page.
Wikipedia page.


Garry Gillard | New: 13 January, 2020 | Now: 31 January, 2020