“Would you like to be a part of this, Frank? Would you like to be a part of this history?”
“Yes, I would. Whatever you need me to do, I’m available.”
With Martin Scorsese’s more than accomplished resumé of fantastic films, should we expect anything other than greatness from The Irishman? The Irishman follows Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) an ageing hitman for the mob, as he reflects on his days of crime, and his alleged involvement with the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino). The Irishman marks the first time in years since Scorsese, De Niro, and Joe Pesci have teamed up for a film. Not to mention, this is the first time Pacino can count himself lucky to be in a Scorsese motion picture. The excitement surrounding The Irishman is insurmountable. Too often do we see films that garner our enthusiasm, only to have it crushed by the end result. No, not this time. This time, everything is true. Scorsese has created another masterpiece.
When Scorsese first announced that he was doing another mob movie, we couldn’t help but scream with excitement. Then to include a cast with DeNiro, Pesci, and Pacino, well, it was written in the stars with how good this film would be. The Irishman takes a look at the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa — in addition to other key pieces of history that are rumored to have a mob affiliation in some way. Everything about The Irishman just fits. The writing is impeccable.
The performances are masterful. The film may run into some timing issues at a whopping 3 hour runtime. But besides that small issue, the film is perfect. We can all admit that De Niro and Pacino are well-known for their “masters of their craft” filmography. And believe me, it’s nothing short of a clinic being put on by these two. However, it’s Pesci that eclipses all other performances with his relatively short screen time. After retiring from acting in 2015, Pesci comes back as if having never taken a step back. His performance as Russell Bufalino is one of the year’s best. Yes, I will go that far. His subtly, and quiet demeanor, make for a truly compelling character.
But even after the great performances, it’s the story that will have you falling in love with The Irishman. Especially, since this is based on true events. Although you may be able to tell where the film takes its liberties, the screenplay, written by Steven Zillian, and based on a book by Charles Brandt, is incredibly well told. The Irishman doesn’t have many flashy moments, nor does it need to. The film focuses more on the historical element, in telling about events such as the JFK assassination, and the inception of worker unions throughout the United States in the 50s and 60s. However, because of that, audience members may think it drags on, while not giving us more of that Scorsese action. But I say, if that is your concern, there’s more than a decent share of violence to satisfy that craving.
The Irishman is much like a continuation of work that Scorsese, De Niro, Pesci, and Pacino have accomplished in their lives. Once again, going back to their roots, and the genre of films that helped them become the actors we know today. Netflix lands itself a film, that in years to come, will still continue to exemplify cinema at its finest.
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel, and Al Pacino