Martin Scorsese’s been a staple in the gangster film community ever since the seventies. He’s done all kinds of films that involve gangsters and said gangsters go on to do a ton of terrible things to each other by the ends of these movies. That’s not to say that Martin Scorsese’s gangster flicks are repetitive because they are anything but. Starting off full-throttle with Mean Streets and following it up with GoodFellas, Casino, Gangs of New York, The Departed, and finally The Irishman, Martin Scorsese has consistently innovated his films either with unique settings or unique characters that you cannot find anywhere else. So, does his latest gangster flick stand on par with the rest of them? Let’s go in-depth!
How to Download The Irishman
You can download the movie using the Netflix App, click on the Download button at the end of this review.
The Movie Review
The Irishman follows a fictionalized version of a real-life crime story regarding the disappearance of notable public figure Jimmy Hoffa. His disappearance was a mystery that hasn’t been solved to this day after he went missing way back in 1975. This is that story from the perspective of Frank Sheehan, an Irishman who is also a World War II veteran. The story starts with Frank in a nursing home as he recalls the time when he worked as a Hitman for the Mafia in the 1950s.
Before anything else, The Irishman is a character portrait of a broken, lonely man searching for something he’s good at instead of just loading boxes. Who else but the great Robert Deniro could’ve provided a performance this good? He brings Frank’s character to absolute life with his portrayal, and the CGI implemented here really does make him seem much younger at times.
Frank’s character goes through a dozen ups and downs, whether it’s being a family man, a loyal Mafioso or a loyal friend; he always manages to find himself in the worst of situations. He is shown to be directly linked in the disappearance (shown in the film as murder) of Jimmy Hoffa, and he’s eventually even sent to prison.
This is a long film, spanning over three and a half hours of buildup and developing its characters until it reaches its epic conclusion. As an aspiring young Mafioso, Frank is taken in by Russell Bufalino, who goes on to become one of the biggest names in the Mafia world of the Irishman. Despite everything in the film, Frank and Russell’s commitment to one another remains strong till the end.
The dilemma for Frank arrives when he meets Jimmy Hoffa, and becomes a close friend of his over time. Throughout the film, Hoffa fights for the rights of the struggling working-class people and Frank relates with his ideology more than anyone else’s. It’s an extremely emotional affair when the film decides to tackle Frank’s depression, years after he leaves the Mafia life while living in the nursing home.
Martin Scorsese took a risk with this film, instead of hiring young actors and then aging them through make up artistry. Scorsese hires his most consistent actors to date, actors from the 70s. Robert Deniro as Frank Sheeran, Al Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa, and Joe Pesci as Russell Bufalino, are all de-aged using visual effects and my god does it work! Scorsese’s storytelling transcends just normal plot to plot, but instead, the film has a pacing that takes you through different moments in the life of these characters and the de-aged actors perform their hearts out! It’s a wonderful affair, and a mesmerizing one at that.
Rodrigo Prieto brings his A-Game to the cinematography of The Irishman, making each scene look and feel unique. There’s a specific sequence where Frank shoots someone in the street, in the middle of winter as the snow was falling down, the street was covered red with blood and it was haunting and gorgeous to look at. Each frame in the film yells orderly insanity, the mark of a great filmmaker.
The Irishman is a testament to Martin Scorsese’s experience as a filmmaking legend. Whether it be the classic roots he goes back to with this film, or the contemporary flair he brings either by de-aging his actors or the abstraction in his cinematography style; The Irishman is a culmination of everything he has accumulated throughout the entirety of his career. While the film could have been short at times, it feels natural and goes by in a flash; just the way Frank would see his life flashing before his eyes when he leaves this world.