A Stunning Tribute to the Crime Drama: The Irishman (2019)

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The Irishman (2019)

Released: On Netflix

Genre: Crime, Drama

Directed: Martin Scorsese

Writer: Steven Zaillian (Screenplay) Charles Brandt (Book)

Cast: Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel, Ray Romano, Bobby Cannavale, Anna Paquin

Opening Thoughts:

I have great respect for Martin Scorsese and his lengthy film career.  Sadly, the very minor controversy about Scorsese’s view on superhero/comic films placed a bad taste in my mouth.  It held me off from watching The Irishman for several months.  Finally, I found some time and was able to fully dive into the film. I found it an excellent work of film and among his finest works to date.

Plot:

An elderly mobster recalls the life he had lived, the friendships made, lost, and sacrifices that came with the business.

Dislikes:

This movie is a slow-cooked meal. In the end, you’ll probably enjoy the hell out of it, but you need to wait for it all to come together in the way you want it to. I can say the pacing is really slow and that if you don’t love crime-dramas, you will have a difficult time watching this movie in one sitting or at all. Especially in the first half of the film.

Likes:

While I can call issues with the pace, Scorsese paints a beautiful albeit familiar crime drama that belongs among the greatest crime dramas in history. It is his love-letter to the genre and I found it incredibly well-crafted work of art.

Scorsese has been able to channel greatness from the likes of Pacino, Pesci, and DeNiro before, but to see it all come together. The entire cast showcases flawless acting during this movie. I didn’t come into this film with too much interest or fanfare, but once the headliners were all on-screen together, I was fully submerged within its story.  To see Joe Pesci come out of retirement for this film and delivering a powerful performance. It is impressive! My respect for this cast only grew after watching this film.

Martin Scorsese has long been an incredible director, but he impressed me with this film in a very specific manner. I’ve tried to write novels, short stories, and even a script where the story takes place over decades. However, it always feels disjointed and hard to develop a seamless flow from point to point. What this film does is create that near-seamless flow as it dances back and forth from time period to time period with grace. For this film to come off so beautifully done while spanning decades of time, it is a true testament to a great filmmaker.

With one or two exceptions the de-aging CGI is really good in this film. It is used appropriately and helps Scorsese craft this modern-day homage to the crime-drama. Scorsese and his crew understands enough of the technology to know when to use it, and when they can’t.

Conclusion:

This may be Martin Scorsese’s best work in an incredible career.  It is a tribute to both mob history and the crime-drama itself.  It exhibits the best and worst aspects of both. While I can’t say it doesn’t romanticize the mob lifestyle in some manner, the movie also doesn’t shy away from the cruelty and violence involved within that world either. How its effects are felt on the indivisuals long after the “limelight” has faded.

The Ladder: 

The Godfather (1972)- I don’t know if the Godfather will ever be dethroned when it comes to crime-dramas. The only film that comes close is …

The Godfather Part 2 (1974)

The Irishman (2019)

Goodfellas (1990)

The Untouchables (1987)

Mean Streets (1973)

The Godfather Part 3 (1990)

 

 

 

 

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