The Irishman Review

The Irishman

No name has been synonymous with Italian gangster films than Martin Scorsese. With films such as Goodfella and Casino, Martin Scorsese has revolutionized the way we see mob films. However, it’s been 25 whole years since Scorsese made a movie about the Italian mafia. Until now… But does The Irishman bring back that Scorsese gangster magic?

You bet he does. It’s like he’s never left. The Irishman is an epic gangster film about love, loyalty, and betrayal. Not to mention, De Niro, Pesci, and Pacino all give award-worthy performances too.

The Irishman follows Frank Sheeran, a hitman who loves to “paint houses.” As he rises in the ranks of the Bufalino crime family, he also develops a friendship with Jimmy Hoffa, a powerful Teamster with ties to the mob.

The Irishman - Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro

After so many years since his last gangster film, The Irishman is a return to form for the big four. While Scorsese’s other films focus on the blue-collar wise guys (Goodfellas) or the rise and fall of the higher-ups (Casino), The Irishman is a more mature outing for Scorsese and company.

Frank’s comeuppance in the mob as their go-to hitman will give you a different perspective of the mob. These characters are much more personable and they show characteristics not found in many of Scorsese’s films: More grounded and humanistic characters. The gangsters in his previous films are brash and over-the-top. With The Irishman, they are much more of the old school La Cosa Nostra mentality of staying under the radar… Except for Jimmy Hoffa.

The Irishman expertly builds on the relationship and dynamic between Frank and Russell Bufalino and Frank and Jimmy Hoffa. Frank and Russell’s is more of a close mentor/mentee relationship while Frank and Jimmy are more of a best friend relationship. Russell and Jimmy’s paths rarely collide but when they do it progressively becomes more volatile.

To be fair, all of the characters in the film aren’t sympathetic or likable at all. But regardless you’re drawn to these characters because these characters give you an inside look into the life of a mobster. That’s why crime shows like “Narcos” and “Ozark” are popular because it gives you an inside look at the life of crime.

But The Irishman isn’t just about the mob. Instead, the film focuses on Frank’s life and his relationship with Russell and Jimmy. Frank is close with both characters and his relationship between everyone becomes the heart and soul of the movie. It’s a gangster film that has a good amount of soul in it.

Unfortunately, the film is too long at 3 hours and a half. Much like Return of the King, the epilogue for the film runs for way too long. However, since this may be Scorsese’s last mobster collaboration with De Niro, Pesci, and Pacino, there’s a sense of not wanting to let go.

The Irishman - Al Pacino and Robert De Niro

A lot of that has to do with Robert De Niro’s humanistic performance. He plays Frank with an everyday man demeanor. At the same time, you can see through his eyes that he’s got skeletons in his closet.

Joe Pesci is cool, calm, and collected as Russell Bufalino. In a way, he reminds you a little bit of Marlon Brando’s performance in The Godfather. He just has that gravitas to demand respect on screen. On the other hand, Al Pacino hams up the screen as the boisterous Jimmy Hoffa. Even though his personality is larger than life, Pacino plays Hoffa with a little bit of insecurity and vulnerability.

Overall, The Irishman is an epic gangster film that focuses on the dynamic between the three central characters. It’s an intriguing story but it’s also a heartbreaking one as well. Although we may never see another Scorsese gangster film again (at least with this cast), he has this great film to go out on.

Review: 5/5 atoms

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1569 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.