The Irishman Review

The Irishman is Martin Scorsese’s reflection of his entire career; when he started, how he rose to his power and who helped him along the way. He presented this through the story of Frank Sheeran, the man who was known to paint houses.

Frank Sheeran’s story was heavy and he met so many people along the way. It seemed that Sheeran lived many lives throughout this film and time played a major factor. The time he spent in the war, causing serious PTSD and conditioning by the army. The time he spent working and earning as much as he could for his new family. The time he spent making different moves with Russell Bufalino and Jimmy Hoffa. The time Sheeran takes in his old age to reflect on how he focused on one life instead of the other. It shows that no matter how loyal you are, how respectful you are or how many hits you do, you end up alone and that time being spent, reflecting on your life, feels like an eternity.

The pacing of this film is something I haven’t experienced before. It didn’t feel slow and it didn’t feel like there was too much being shoved into the runtime, it was just perfect. Thelma Schoonmaker is a master editor and she knew exactly how to run this story. The two acts showcasing the rise to power and the politics that become integrated in Jimmy Hoffa’s story all flowed beautifully. These characters were interesting because of the dialogue and the historical accuracy of it all. The third act is where Schoonmaker slows it down, it wasn’t because the story was coming to an end but because the protagonist, Sheeran was older, much older and life began to slow for him as well.

This felt like Scorsese’s magnum opus because there was such a finality to this piece. It was a love letter to all of the mob films that came before and in a way an introduction to the new generation. At the beginning of this film Sheeran states that no one knows or even cares about Jimmy Hoffa and then he proceeds to tell his version of the story. I found this interesting and I perceived it as Scorsese referencing his own career and this was the way he was going to reintroduce himself.

Everything was about this film was perfect. From Scorsese’s direction to Rodrigo Prieto’s cinematography, to Sandy Powell’s costuming, to Robbie Robertson’s score and obviously to Thelma Schoonmaker’s editing, this beast is his masterpiece. Robert De Niro was superb and played Sheeran so well. His de-aging was perfectly fine and it didn’t look bad at all. Al Pacino as hot head Jimmy Hoffa was the only possible casting because he knocked it out of the park. He captured both sides of Hoffa and it was great to see. Joe Pesci’s Russell Bufalino was perfect and his subtlety as a mob boss was fun to watch. The three of them on screen together was quite emotional to watch at times because a film like this, with this calibre of acting, will never happen again.

The Irishman felt so personal, it felt very intimate and it’s because of who was on screen and working with Scorsese. It felt like a goodbye but we all know Marty isn’t going anywhere.

Martin Scorsese v. Marvel: Dawn of Justice

Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman is in theatres today and will eventually be released on Netflix November 27th. The past month, the media has been in a frenzy over Mr. Scorsese’s comments about Marvel films and how he considers them a different form of cinema.

In my personal opinion, Scorsese is just reiterating what many people have been saying for the past five years. Disney has been pumping out these films year after year and they have been lacking in many departments. It’s killing the moviegoing experience for general audiences. He has compared the MCU to theme park rides because the entire franchise consists of EVENT films. Disney brings in the entire family, whether it be a Marvel film or a remade Disney live action, they have been able to make money on nostalgia and comfort.

The Future of Netflix Distribution Analytical Podcast
Link to blog post x

The film critics, cinephiles and movie lovers count down the days for independent films like The Irishman but the general audience has been conditioned to spend money on event films because of the rising ticket prices. No one will spend the money to watch a film that they are taking a gamble on. The podcast that is linked on the right is an in depth analysis of the new age of movie watching. In the podcast the discourse of film distribution, local movie theatre chains and streaming are all discussed. The general audience mainly goes to the theatre for a comedy or an action film and that’s the sad reality that Mr. Scorsese is addressing in this new age of filmmaking. He was never dismissing the hard work and dedication that has gone into each of these films but instead, how it has altered the thought process when deciding which film to watch in theatres and which films to watch at home.

(from left) Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Ray Romano in The Irishman (2019)

The Irishman is a gigantic film because of the calibre of actors, the streaming deal with Netflix AND he is delivering another classic mob film. There have been so many comments about who he is as a person and as a filmmaker, it seems that people haven’t done their research on what Scorsese has been doing for the past four decades. He has been pushing cinema forward with his own filmography and he has been preserving the history of cinema since 1990. Martin Scorsese genuinely loves every single aspect of this industry and for people to undermine him and disrespect his dedication to his craft is ridiculous.

It’s also incredible to me that journalists, who have studied for their degree, are pushing this discourse, while Scorsese is doing promo for The Irishman. You have one of the most renowned directors in front of you, with a massive film, which is a culmination of his entire filmography and you decide to get a soundbite for clickbait, rather than any film related content? Are his thoughts about a franchise really more important than the film he’s promoting? Also, why are you asking the Marvel actors/directors their thoughts about Scorsese’s comments, knowing full well that they have contracts with Disney?

The moviegoing audience has shifted and the way people watch films has also drastically changed. Martin Scorsese has been able to transcend generations with his filmmaking because he moves with the technological climate. When 3D came out, Scorsese made Hugo and the film was nominated because of his heartfelt story and homage to cinema history.

Asa Butterfield in Hugo (2011)

When movies were being shot on digital, Scorsese gave it a shot with the bombastic The Wolf of Wall Street and it was also nominated. It only made sense for Scorsese to head to a streaming platform for this gangster epic.

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

The reason why it’s so important that big filmmakers take a chance on Netflix, is so we can finally bridge the gap between streaming and theatrical distribution. A film like The Irishman in this current climate won’t even make a profit in a local movie theatre BUT showcasing this type of film on a streaming service, allows a guaranteed international release on multiple screens. Scorsese attempted to bridge the gap but movie theatres did not want to show a 3.5 hour gangster film, with older actors, when they could fill their screens with the latest action flick or Disney film.

If you really think about it, it took a director like Scorsese, to express everyone’s thoughts about the destruction of the moviegoing experience, for people to actually question Disney’s conditioning. There is original content that should be thriving and that’s the only point Martin Scorsese was trying to make.