Dir Martin Scorsese
Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)
“Would you like to be a part of this, Frank? Would you like to be a part of this history?”
Netflix have bet big on The Irishman, the story of lifetime mobster Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran (Robert De Niro showing he is still a freaking acting legend). Based on the memoir ‘I Heard You Paint Houses’ compiled by investigator Charles Brandt – the title alludes to how the walls change colour when someone is shot ‘painting’ the walls with their blood.
The Irishman is a truly epic tale which covers the time period of the 1940s right through to the early 2000s. Director Scorsese takes us on this trip of how Sheeran rose from a low-level hood to become the right-hand man of Union boss Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino).
'that infamous unimpressed look...'
If this sounds a bit like the narrative style of Goodfellas or Casino - Scorsese’s two other told-in-retrospect gangster films – that’s because it is, and it works superbly making this feel like the third in his mobster classic series. For me The Irishman is also the most likeable of the three and it’s certainly the longest coming in at a riveting three-and-a-half-hour runtime.
Throughout the compelling sharing of events, there is very much the sense that we’re witnessing a sugar-coated version of what went down. Sheeran might not be a completely trustworthy narrator, glossing over the dark fallout from the copious violence but not shying away from it.
Scorsese might be pushing 80 but he’s still a master of this medium and here his use of de-aging many cast members with digital technology works really well in giving those sections of the film a hazy ‘idealistic’ feel.
The cast are truly another level with De Niro and Pacino on top form but Joe Pesci (as Russell Bufalino) and Harvey Keitel (as don Angelo Bruno) standing out but ably supported by great supporting cast that includes Anna Paquin as Sheeran’s disapproving daughter Peggy and Jack Huston as Robert ‘Bobby’ Kennedy trying to take down organized crime.
This Irishman is one of the best films of the year and shows that the old boys can sometimes still school the youngsters in the cinematic art. Well played Netflix in making this happen!
'can't touch me'
Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:
(5 - Quality Old School Gangster-em-up)
Awesomeness ööööö – Some unforgettable scenes and compulsive viewing throughout
Laughs ööö – Some nice dark humour
Horror öööö – Graphic violence
Spiritual Enlightenment öö - What is a man's life worth?
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