I was never going to forego watching celebrated director Martin Scorsese’s latest, The Irishman; even with the arguably ‘offensive’ three and a half hour runtime.
Starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel and centred around a mob hitman’s recollection of his possible involvement in the killing of American Labour Union leader Jimmy Hoffa in 1975; the dialogue, style and great performances are all reasons why I find The Irishman most memorable.
As De Niro’s Frank Sheeran (the Irishman), who’s now living in a retirement home recalls his story, there’s definitely a high volume of information shared, some of which you’ll likely soon forget; in part because of the pace of events. Nevertheless, the story, acting and editing still managed to keep me engaged. And just before the one hour, thirty minutes point, that’s when things get especially interesting. It’s when all the great performances start to reveal themselves fully.
Pacino as the incredibly stubborn Hoffa and Stephen Graham as the equally stubborn Tony Pro are two of my favourites, and their scenes together are among the very best. However, the most memorable performance and my overall favourite thing about The Irishman is De Niro’s turn as Frank. I particularly appreciated the moments Frank didn’t have to speak for the audience to grasp a fair amount of the depth of his experience. So impactful were these quiet moments that I can’t hide my disappointed that De Niro didn’t get an acting Academy Award nomination.
I like how Scorsese’s film provides a kind of ‘inside look’ at the life of a mob hitman. The daily realities, the impact on family and the weight of loyalty. Still, a part of me wonders how different The Irishman would be had Scorsese taken the mini-series or multiple part feature film route instead of squeezing so much into one feature. I wonder.
The Irishman is a film to watch because of the great film making team and for a handful of truly memorable, high tension and often humorous scenes that will remind you of just why Scorsese is so highly celebrated. Just make sure you’re fully rested though, and ready to watch and truly listen before committing to the hefty three hours and thirty minutes.
Happy Film Loving