Saturday, December 7, 2019

The Irishman, 2019 - ★★★

I don't fully get the whole universal praise of this film. I enjoyed watching it and really do appreciate all the technical work done with the de-aging of the main characters. The performances by De Niro, Pesci and Pacino are all top-notch in this "true story" look at the disappearance / murder of Jimmy Hoffa. De Niro in particular carries the film and it's really his best work since Goodfellas. You can tell that this was a passion project for the cast and Martin Scorsese as every scene is beautifully detailed and well crafted. The film looks great in 4K as well as I was able to watch this on Netflix at home, a trend that I am starting to enjoy more and more.

The major problem I had with this film is the run-time. This movie is waaaay too long and over indulgent. I felt we just got every single detail of Frank Sheeran's (De Niro) life and some of it could have been cut out. So many conversations ad nauseum between the main characters that after a while it's overkill and I started zoning out. Goodfellas is the best comparison to this film and that film just was so much more engaging than this one with memorable scenes and characters. The Irishman tells an intriguing story about growing old and coming to grips with what you've done over your lifetime but the way it's conveyed on screen is just a series of brutal killings peppered between forgettable conversations. Maybe part of the problem here is a lack of strong/memorable female performances in this movie. Lorraine Bracco brought so much to Goodfellas and that edge seemed to be missing here.

Marty Scorsese is a brilliant director but this is not in his top tier of films. It's really great to see Joe Pesci working again and I hope this isn't his final film. This is worth seeing for sure, but you may want to break it up in several chunks if you're watching via Netflix.

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