The Irishman is a landmark achievement in special effects and patient storytelling. Director Martin Scorsese’s masterstroke of perfection lives and breathes throughout this picture.
I Heard You Paint Houses.
The Irishman is compelling through its directing, acting, and writing. Actors Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino are a revelation together. The actors of this Holy Trinity are reunited for one last ride. This epic gangster film is one of the best of the year, a new American classic. I highly recommend seeing it in theaters if you can. This is 'Cinema' in the highest order. Scorsese's latest feature receives a five-star review from me. This three and a half hour mobster motion picture takes its time recalling a mob hitman's past crimes and reflecting on them. In this biographical crime thriller, we follow Frank Sheeran (a top-notch De Niro) as he recalls his past years working for the Bufalino crime family. Sheeran is a truck driver who becomes a hitman involved with mobster Russell Bufalino (a superb Pesci).
Pesci came out of retirement for this movie after Scorsese asked him to play the role more than 50 times. Pesci's bold silence and patient manner will seep into your bones. Pesci is a master actor, shedding new light in the supporting role. Russell Bufalino was an Italian-born American mobster who became the crime boss of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Now older, the WWII veteran (Sheeran) once again reflects on his most prolific hits and, in particular, considers his involvement with his good friend Jimmy Hoffa's (a fantastic Pacino) disappearance in 1975. Jimmy Hoffa was an American labor union leader who served as the President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) union from 1957 until 1971. Actors Ray Romano, Bobby Cannavale, Stephen Graham, Domenick Lombardozzi, and Harvey Keitel help fill in the cracks to these lushes characters. Charisma and wit shine bright throughout this dark movie and will keep you smiling.
The production design, lighting, and score are all top-notch. These grand aspects help excel the stories' identity to a place of high virtue. The Irishman officially marks the end of an era with gangster movies. The classic mobster movies have faded away and we are seeing the repercussions of these men's past actions unveil on the screen before us. In The Irishman, we see them age and wither away, whether that's in jail or a nursing home. In past Italian gangster films like The Godfather, Scarface, Goodfellas, and Casino, we see violent men fueled by their hedonism and not giving a damn about where their actions will take them. In most of those past pictures, we see don't see them grappling with their past life after they've become elderly. This is where The Irishman comes into play. Scorsese shows a man, now crippled and forgotten by his family, struggling with his soul and reflecting on his sins. This is storytelling at its finest. Scorsese finally caps off his gangster saga (Goodfellas, Casino, and The Irishman), concluding with a man bound to isolationism and guilt. This is something that Goodfellas or Casino never made it too.
At long last, these criminal organizations have died and so have their counterparts. Throughout this film, we see many Scorsese staples like long tracking shots, freeze-framing on particular gangsters, tints of red lighting, and opening voice-over narration. This time with Scorsese's freeze-framing we get 'title cards' providing the death of each gangster — often in graphic detail. Not only is the storytelling perfection, but the special effects will blow you away. Industrial Light & Magic and visual effects supervisor Pablo Helman handled the effects for the film. Helman used a technique called 'digital de-aging'. Respectfully, to give De Niro, Pesci, and Pacino younger portrayals. Scorsese said that "the risk was there, and that was it. We just tried to make the film. After sitting on the couch for ten years [...] we finally had a way." Speaking about the de-aging process, Pacino told IndieWire: "I was playing Jimmy Hoffa at the age of 39, they're doing that on a computer [...] we went through all these tests and things [...] someone would come up to me and say, 'You're 39.' [You'd recall] some sort of memory of 39, and your body tries to acclimate to that and think that way. They remind you of it."
The Irishman starts its story in the 1950s and expands through 30 years of organized crime history. Screenwriter Steven Zaillian (Schindler's List, Gangs of New York, and Moneyball) penned the screenplay for this masterful film and based it off the book I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt. The Irishman premiered at the 57th New York Film Festival, and had a limited theatrical release on November 1, 2019, followed by digital streaming on Netflix starting on November 27, 2019. Since then, Scorsese's film has gone on to win numerous awards (47) and has been nominated for 173. The Irishman was also nominated for five Golden Globe Awards, including Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director (Scorsese), and Best Supporting Performance in a Motion Picture (Pesci and Pacino). I know The Irishman will receive a lot of Oscar nominations come this January and it would be great to see this masterpiece possibly win Best Picture. This is a film that deserves the Academy's highest honors. Scorsese found a way interconnecting flashbacks and flash-forwards to help mold the story to a place of rich rewards. Scorsese's juxtaposition of the "ruthless gangster" now diminished of old age overshadows his previous installments. Here, we see the actual effects of a retired mob hitman asking for his soul's forgiveness. De Niro unveils the vulnerabilities of a man's inability to coil with his violent sins. In the end, The Irishman is a monumental accomplishment for cinema and should be preserved for generations to come.
The Irishman is rated R (Restricted). For pervasive language and strong violence.
Directed by Martin Scorsese, AKA the Master of Cinema.
The Holy Trinity: Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino.
Also Starring Actors Ray Romano, Bobby Cannavale, Stephen Graham, Domenick Lombardozzi, and Harvey Keitel.
Digital De-Aging Below:
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