Twenty-four (24) years since their last collaboration with Casino (1995), Martin Scorsese teams back up with his beloved and trusted friends, Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci in The Irishman (2019). In addition to those two head honchos, Scorsese brings back the familiar Harvey Keitel, and a new set of faces consisting of Ray Romano, and the greatly anticipated, Al Pacino—who he has never worked with before. Are you kidding me?! After 50 years in the industry, working in similar genres and having mutual colleagues … Al Pacino and Martin Scorsese have not made a project together? WHAT?! The elite cast offers not only one of the best films of the year but a film of a lifetime. A historic piece to be remembered for generations. Oh, and it is a Netflix original! A huge step for Marty and other auteur directors, making this project even more monumental.
Scorsese puts out an unbeatable, one-of-a-kind film directly in your homes. With a runtime of three and a half hours, the story flawlessly flows and feels natural. Initially what started their careers in gangster movies, these film legends return to their roots for a final stab at the spectacle. There will be nothing like The Irishman for a long time coming. As many of these actors and filmmakers approach their later years, nearing their late 70s and early 80s, The Irishman feels like a tribute to their long careers and a “thank you” for what they have given to cinema. A love letter if you will. A letter to film, the industry, gangster movies, a “family” of professionals, and the old style of filmmaking that we respectably endear.
Based on a true story, The Irishman, set in the 1950s, follows truck driver Frank Sheeran (De Niro) who gets involved with Russell Bufalino (Pesci) and his Pennsylvania crime family. Sheeran initially gets his foot into the world of crime by making illegal shipments and truck deliveries to his newfound family of mobsters. Sheeran continues to rise and becomes a top hitman which eventually leads to his relationship to Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino). Hoffa at the time was head of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, who has financial ties with Bufalino’s crime family. As their family rises, Sheeran forgets about his own, leading to a series of betrayal, backstabbing, and an unforgiving downfall.
Finally, after viewing all 25 narrative features by the director, Martin Scorsese seems he has put everything on the table with nothing left to give, offering one of his most vulnerable films. The theme of death is no stranger to Scorsese’s work, but something about old friends on-screen (SPOILER ALERT) killing each other feels the most powerful. Although The Irishman packs in an exciting look at mafia life, it is a very different mob movie. Compared to Goodfellas (1990), the main character, Henry Hill looks back on his life of crime, and the audience feels warm as he does so. The Irishman has a different approach. The protagonist, Frank Sheeran looks back on his gangster days alone, feeling empty inside as he faces mortality by himself filled with regrets. There are no warming friends sitting by his bedside. EVERYONE is dead. The film closes with Sheeran resting in a wheelchair, closed off, and only seen through the small cracks of an open door… alone, as he says goodbye. Perhaps a final goodbye from the director and his collaborators, as they leave this legacy behind.
Story/Plot – 18/20 Direction – 20/20 Acting - 20/20
Cinematography – 20/20 Score/Soundtrack – 19/20
The Founder of @HennionProductions,