The Irishman (2019)

the irishman poster 2019 movie
9.5 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 10/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great cast, interesting story

Long, some accuracy questions

Movie Info

Movie Name: The Irishman

Studio: Tribeca Productions

Genre(s): Drama/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  September 27, 2019 (New York Film Festival)/November 27, 2019

MPAA Rating: R

the irishman frank sheeran court robert de niro

I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth…like everyone who has claimed to have killed Hoffa

Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) paints houses…kind of. Starting as a truck driver, Frank finds himself tied to Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) who runs a crime family in Pennsylvania and through Bufalino, Frank finds himself working for Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino). When Hoffa’s plans begin to conflict with organized crime, Frank finds himself caught between two loyalties and will have to make a decision which side he chooses.

Directed by Martin Scorsese, The Irishman is a biopic true crime movie. The film adapts the Charles Brandt 2004 book I Hear You Paint Houses (which is sometimes used as an alternative title for the film) which tells the story of Frank Sheeran (1920-2003). The film stirred controversy by being released to Netflix instead of a traditional theatrical run and also aspects of the story were challenged by people involved and historians. The movie was a critical success and received Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Pacino and Pesci), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, and Best Visual Effects.  The Criterion Collection released a physical copy of the film (Criterion #1058).

When The Irishman was announced, it was like the Holy Grail of crime films. It had everyone you wanted in a crime movie AND was directed by Scorsese. With a lot of anticipation, I was really concerned about the movie…but The Irishman paid off.

the irishman hoffa russell bufalino joe pesci al pacino

Seriously dude…you got to let this one go…

The story for the film (regardless of accuracy) is interesting. As stated by Frank Sheeran, many young people don’t know anything about Hoffa other than he disappeared. I fall in between with some knowledge of Hoffa and his methods, but also not knowing much of what Hoffa was involved in and how it caved in on him. Despite being a hefty three and a half hours, the movie moves pretty decently and is entertaining throughout.

Robert De Niro in his prime was awesome, but in recent years, he’s only been so-so. Here, he’s back to his peak as an unreliable narrator who stumbles his way through telling the story. His character comes off as not entirely smart but dependable and faithful…which makes the story more tragic at the end. He’s backed by an amazing supporting cast with Pesci playing a much more reserve character than we’re used to seeing him and Pacino as the bombastic Hoffa. Ray Romano, Harvey Keitel, Jesse Plemons, Steven Van Zandt, Anna Paquin, and Bobby Cannavale all have roles in the film.

the irishman hoffa killed robert de niro al pacino

Don’t you hate those awkward drives when you have take one of your friends to be whacked?

The movie does a great job setting the scene with some classic roadside locations (like Howard Johnson) and I can remember eating a HoJos when going East…and it feels and looks just like it did in the film. The story doesn’t deal in New York City crime like many of Scorsese’s films, but it also is a nice change to see him take on a different location for movies.  In addition to the physical sets, the film does a nice job de-aging the characters (though I do think that some of their body movements show their age).

The Irishman is long and daunting, but it is worth the time. With the Netflix tie, it makes it easier to digest the film (and revisit parts you might have missed in the viewing). I finished The Irishman and immediately feel I could watch The Irishman again…which is pretty amazing considering the film’s length and grandeur.  Is The Irishman truth?  Maybe…doubtful…it seems like every made-man has an “I killed Jimmy Hoffa” story or knows someone one who did, and Frank’s tale is probably just another one.  Regardless the film is great and a great achievement for Scorsese.  I hope it isn’t, but it could be Scorsese’s great swan song film, and if it happens to be, he made a winner.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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