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The Irishman

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The Irishman (2019)

This is a first rate production in nearly all aspects. It's chief detraction is the feeling of familiarity with the character types. There have been enough outstanding pictures where each of the main actors have played memorable Italian/Sicilian mob figures, that the tendency is to mistake the characters as cookie cutter versions of earlier dramas. The fact that neither Hoffa nor Sheeran were Italian can be lost on the audience, despite the film's title.

It would be helpful to viewers to first familiarize themselves with the Hoffa/Teamsters/mob events of the 1960s. I grew up with the Hoffa saga, and there simply was not a larger nor more familiar personality in the news, week in and week out. His press attention, his loud mouth, and his insistence on re-establishing his Teamsters authority resulted in his murder.

The tone and pace of the film were absorbing. Scorsese took Steven Zaillian's screenplay (from the book by Charles Brandt) and allowed ample time for the characters to develop their relationships-- a pleasing change from today's split second, short attention span action flicks. The cinematography by Rodgrigo Prieto --a veteran of films by Innaritu, Stone, and Scorsese-- is captivating, with perfect framing and lighting.

The heavyweight cast was a delight to watch: not only the 3 principals (DeNiro, Pacino and Pesci, along with Harvey Keitel), but a superb supporting cast including Bobby Cannavale, Ray Romano, and Stephen Graham.

Much was made of the "de-aging" of the principals. It was a detraction, more so in portraying their very early years. But from the time they were middle aged and older, the make up and styling were very effective. Granted, the scene where a 76 year old DeNiro thrashed a younger heavier shopkeeper looked fakey. However it didn't change the meaning of the action.

The period music was fitting, and helped establish the feel of the era. "In the Still of the Night", the doo-wop hit by The Five Satins was one of the best period specific songs, and is one of the all time slow dancing make-out songs. There were other memorable hits from the era, such as "I Hear You Knocking", "A White Sport Coat (and a Pink Carnation", and "Cry", to name a few.

One gets the feeling that this will be Scorsese's last "mob" type picture, and if so it's a strong and fitting way to exit the style.

Doc's rating: 8/10



"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."



Finally saw this, in one sitting (some breaks, but not broken up over multiple nights, which seemed like a possibility at first). Very good, interest never really waned, which is pretty impressive given the run time.

I didn't find the effects distracting, particularly given how much talk there's been about them. That might've tempered me to expect a lot worse, dunno, but I was pretty impressed and mostly forgot about them after awhile.

It was really nice, if nothing else, to see De Niro, Pesci, and Pacino, in a situation where you knew they wouldn't dream of phoning it in. All three guys showed they've still got tremendous talent and ability, even if maybe they don't find themselves in as many situations where they can (or can be persuaded to) flex it. Pacino's got his whole Pacino stamp on there, to be sure, but it fits the character, and De Niro does some really beautiful, subtle stuff. His whole performance is refreshingly tentative (notice all the modest stuttering during voice over).

I don't think the film's doing anything too revolutionary, but it's definitely another great mob film from Marty, and in a lot of ways a bit more patient and mature than his others, if not quite as entertaining as a result. It's more brutal, and more about relationships, than the others. There are fewer Moments from this film, but it's gripping on a deeper level.

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The aging effect didnt bother me so much and I only really noticed it once twice on close-up side views of his face. I was aware but it wasn't distracting. What was distracting, however, was De Niro's physicality in a few scenes. For example, his speed and gate when walking and tossing guns into the rivers both showed his age and limitations. It appeared as though he had little mobility in his shoulders and from his hips down. That was more difficult to accept than all of the aging effects combined.

I took the stammering also as a sign of the actor's age (and possible frailty) rather that the character's humility. The truck breaking down "kid" comment only brought more attention to these distractions for me. Had that one line been omitted I might not have been so bothered.

I'll need to watch it again to see how I feel. I had to break it into two nights and, oddly, it felt like two different movies. I think Hoffa's story was the hook for me. Time lines were already fragmented so I wonder how it might have played to include that earlier on. Iderno.



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I also noticed how De Niro showed his age with the way he moved more than anything. One thing about Pacino calling him kid, at least in the Boston area this is not uncommon. There are guys who call other guys kid regardless of age, the person could be twice as old. I've always thought it was odd.



I also noticed how De Niro showed his age with the way he moved more than anything. One thing about Pacino calling him kid, at least in the Boston area this is not uncommon. There are guys who call other guys kid regardless of age, the person could be twice as old. I've always thought it was odd.
Yeah, the "kid" reference had nothing to do with age. It was intended more in a way of a boss talking to an employee, or a higher up referring to an underling. Sometimes "kid" is used simply as a term of affection or friendliness. It was common in the 1960s.



Yeah, that's what I took from it, too, but it was definitely jarring because Pesci didn't really "feel" much older.

Totally agree re: old man movement, though. Most egregious in the scene with the kicking on the sidewalk. Those kicks weren't really sold much.



I took the stammering also as a sign of the actor's age (and possible frailty) rather that the character's humility.
Oh, I don't think so. Why wouldn't they just do another take? It happens dozens of times, and the character is specifically supposed to be tentative, compared to the others. I think it's very deliberate and a really good choice, especially in the voiceover.



For any of you who enjoyed the songs and instrumentals used in The Irishman anywhere near as much as I did, here is a site which lists each of the pieces, along with a video/audio of the original artists.

https://www.slashfilm.com/the-irishman-soundtrack/



I really like how they remade robert de niro in his 40s, at least i can feel im in a movie with robert de niro 25 years ago which is good



I like a lot of the stuff that's on the soundtrack well enough but to me as with the Americana visuals I didn't really get the sense of connection to the story. It works as a bit of a contrast to the brutal violence you see in the montages but I don't get the sense it represents the characters.

In Goodfellas similar kind of music works for me because it reflects Henry Hill trying to buy into a respectable middle class lifestyle but I don't get the same sense of that with Frank Sheeran.



I like a lot of the stuff that's on the soundtrack well enough but to me as with the Americana visuals I didn't really get the sense of connection to the story. It works as a bit of a contrast to the brutal violence you see in the montages but I don't get the sense it represents the characters.

In Goodfellas similar kind of music works for me because it reflects Henry Hill trying to buy into a respectable middle class lifestyle but I don't get the same sense of that with Frank Sheeran.
I think the chosen songs were used to set the character of the era, and to me that worked very well.

I'm trying to remember if in The Godfather the music was in contrast to the scenes where Corleone was retaliating by killing many of the other mobster leaders. Can't recall if it was opera or not, which has been used effectively in other films.

~Doc



I just want to hug (your FACE)!
I took the stammering also as a sign of the actor's age (and possible frailty) rather that the character's humility.
Oh, I don't think so. Why wouldn't they just do another take? It happens dozens of times, and the character is specifically supposed to be tentative, compared to the others. I think it's very deliberate and a really good choice, especially in the voiceover.
I honestly don't remember the stuttering to be consistent. Could be in part that I split my viewing over two nights. Could be the time jumps and I didn't make the connection to the age of the character when it was happening. I do remember questioning it and asking why not another take. I couldn't answer that at the time though and the awkwardness (and me having an internal debate over it) all became too much of a distraction. I suppose, for me, the smaller points of his appearances to look younger yet moving with an apparent older body may have put me out just enough to question other elements such as his stuttering. Something that otherwise might not have caught my attention. Or at least not colored in the light that I perceived it.



Having watched the a film, one must remember that we must take Sheeran account with a grain of salt. There are many who doubt the veracity of his claims.
That being said, I don’t require a film to adhere 100% to the truth.
I enjoyed the film, and felt Anna Paquins character as his conscience, ever silent, ever watching, giving him knowing glances that he understood she was aware of his deeds.
She could have has more dialogue, but that’s another matter. As a silent witness, she’s important.
The idea of death surrounding all who get involved in their way of life was another theme, as details are imposed, concerning every minor character who appeared , revealing their fate.
And there lies one last theme. Fate. Sheeran and Hoffa couldn’t escape theirs



I think I was mostly enamored with Robert De Niro's character for most of this film. Although Al Pacino was oftentimes hilarious in it. He wasn't funny in the "DiCaprio's silly dance in Wolf of Wall Street," but he reminded me of my grandfather yelling at a cashier over flip flops. I especially loved how offended and bothered he was over the guy being 15 minutes late and how he kept coming back to it. De Niro's character, I think, can best be described as a sociopath. I didn't think it or truly appreciate it until about 2 or 3 hours into the film. I knew he was an angry, explosive type, but I didn't really appreciate how empty he seemed. It was like, through the years, he kept removing little bits and pieces of himself, becoming more callous and empty, and yet, not in an overt way. The scene when he was in the church and explained away feeling guilt over everyone he'd killed by saying, "Oh, I didn't know the families," or "I think me being here might be reason to think I'm sorry," really showed how, through the years, he became a zip-lock bag masquerading as a real person. I think that's what I like about this film. Sometimes Scorsese and others really glamorizing crime. For good reason, it's good entertainment, but this film really takes you through the story and shows that, even if De Niro's character was one of the few to "survive," he didn't really.
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Watched it over 3 nights . I don't care what anyone says about the run time it's just too damn long. And it's not the most griping movie that can afford that. It can be a slow burn at times. I don't think I'd ever sit down and watch the thing in one sitting.

The deaging stuff worked pretty well but there was just not hiding the way they moved, especially Di Niro. He moved like a guy pushing 80 trying to kill people. Especially one egregious scene. I'll always find it ironic Di Niro, who really broke out with his role in the Godfather II, by playing a younger version of a character an older actor could not, did this movie. Took away opportunity from a younger actor . He is just so insufferable with his politics it bothers me more with him. Pesci can do what he wants because he is the man.

Di Niro, Pacino and Pesci were all very good. It's a compelling mob flick from Martin Scorsese of course it's going be high quality. It was a little tough to follow towards the middle of the flick for me. Maybe on repeat viewings, which I probably won't attempt, it would be clearer for me. Think he went on too many divergent paths at some points in the film. It's an entertaining enough movie, that will probably dominant award season but I found it a poor man's Goodfellas. I think he should have leaned more into the Hoffa stuff because that was the interesting parts. We get how the mob works, you gave us Goodfellas for that Of course it's worth a watch, but it doesn't have very much repeat value to me

I'd give it 3 out of 5.
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Watched it over 3 nights . I don't care what anyone says about the run time it's just too damn long. And it's not the most griping movie that can afford that. It can be a slow burn at times. I don't think I'd ever sit down and watch the thing in one sitting.

The deaging stuff worked pretty well but there was just not hiding the way they moved, especially Di Niro. He moved like a guy pushing 80 trying to kill people. Especially one egregious scene. I'll always find it ironic Di Niro, who really broke out with his role in the Godfather II, by playing a younger version of a character an older actor could not, did this movie. Took away opportunity from a younger actor . He is just so insufferable with his politics it bothers me more with him. Pesci can do what he wants because he is the man.

Di Niro, Pacino and Pesci were all very good. It's a compelling mob flick from Martin Scorsese of course it's going be high quality. It was a little tough to follow towards the middle of the flick for me. Maybe on repeat viewings, which I probably won't attempt, it would be clearer for me. Think he went on too many divergent paths at some points in the film. It's an entertaining enough movie, that will probably dominant award season but I found it a poor man's Goodfellas. I think he should have leaned more into the Hoffa stuff because that was the interesting parts. We get how the mob works, you gave us Goodfellas for that Of course it's worth a watch, but it doesn't have very much repeat value to me

I'd give it 3 out of 5.
For sure, it could have definitely cut at least 30 minutes from it. The last 20 mins in particular about him trying to rebuild a relationship with his daughter and then contemplating his inevitable death, which was a main theme, was analyzed. Still, it definitely was enjoyable regardless of runtime mostly due to the performances.



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Yeah, I don't think you can call this a poor man's Goodfellas anymore than you can call Unforgiven a poor man's Outlaw Josey Wales. They're both ostensibly about the same thing with the same creators but, as Ebert would say, it's how they're about the same thing that matters - Henry Hill actively making the choice to join the mob because he thinks it's cool is different from Frank Sheeran passively moving his way up the ladder because he sees it as just another way to provide for his family, for instance (I get the feeling that there are more point-by-point comparisons to make but I think that one distinguishes the two at the core enough so that I'm not writing one off just because it has also has a montage of stuff falling off the back of a truck).
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I also noticed how De Niro showed his age with the way he moved more than anything.
I found the age thing to be entirely distracting. During the "fight scene", why oh why didn't they use a stuntman/double? I was thinking to myself during the fight "is he going to keel over and die?"

Looked like a fight in the retirement home over who gets the last tapioca at the pudding bar.

My other overall complaint is that this crew has done it all already regarding organized crime. (I'll avoid the obvious list).



Welcome to the human race...
My other overall complaint is that this crew has done it all already regarding organized crime. (I'll avoid the obvious list).
I want to see the obvious list.