review by Bobby Blakey
Throughout the years some of the best organized crime feature films such as Goodfellas came from director Martin Scorsese and often teamed up with both Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci. Now the team is back together once again and this time added Al Pacino who has his own history to great crime films to the mix with The Irishman also starring Anna Paquin, Ray Romano, Jesse Plemons, Harvey Keitel, Jack Huston, and Bobby Cannavale. Could this be another great chapter in the Scorsese crime filmography or will there not be enough evidence to convict?
The Irishman follows an epic saga of organized crime in post-war America told through the eyes of World War II veteran Frank Sheeran, a hustler and hitman who worked alongside some of the most notorious figures of the 20th Century. Spanning decades, the film chronicles one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in American history, the disappearance of legendary union boss Jimmy Hoffa, and offers a monumental journey through the hidden corridors of organized crime: its inner workings, rivalries and connections to mainstream politics.
I love this genre and this team are the masters of the craft. I have been eager to see this film from the day it was officially announced and was bummed that I missed getting the chance to see it on the big screen, but thankfully its Netflix release allowed me to hunker down and dive in for the three and half hour opus. With each of Scorsese’s films of this genre they have offered up a different take on this world. With my personal all-time favorite Goodfellas, we saw the violent world of these crime families and the rise and all in power. In Casino it brought the glitz and violent glamor of the underworld to Vegas with the crime and legitimate business blurring together. The Irishman takes things in a different direction once again focusing on more of the effects this lifestyle has on this characters life while still bringing all the same tropes that fans love in the genre.
The cast is insanely good as always with DeNiro carrying the film like only he can. This role is a different side to this genre than we have seen from him
with the tough guy fully intact, but also a softer and more vulnerable side at times. Pacino steps in as Hoffa and steals every scene he is in. He brings the usual bolstering presence to the role making you fully believe that people would both fear and follow him. He is right in place in the role and so much fun to see him get to cut loose again. The biggest treat was getting to see the return of the great Joe Pesci who steps in like he never left the industry and killed the part. He is easily one of the best things about the movie bringing his usual swagger and presence that makes him both likeable and scary. He stays fairly toned down here for this part, but still makes it clear that he is not to be messed with and you believe it.
For this film to work they had to do a ton of CGI work to de-age these guys which has become something of the norm in a lot of films these days. The finished products looks excellent with the only issues for me is there physical mannerisms. This is a minor complaint but does showcase that these are not always the young people the visuals are leading us to believe. This wasn’t anything that hurt the overall finished product for me in any way, just something that is noticeable. This is a minor issue that is easily forgotten once you get fully invested into this film filled with a compelling story, great cinematography, brilliant direction and outstanding performances from legends in the industry.