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Wick's Review

Created Dec 07, 2019 03:19AM PST • Edited Dec 14, 2019 01:14AM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Really Great 4.5

    Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman is the Forest Gump of mob movies, sans any sense of sweetness of course. The Irishman has an emotional range from glum to grim, but is Gump-like in placing its protagonist in the middle of a long series of famous moments from the early sixties to the mid seventies. The most fabled of those is the hit on Jimmy Hoffa, which Frank Sheeran – aka The Irishman – claims to have committed.

    This long movie brings that walk down mob-memory-lane to life. It utilizes a Hall of Fame Starting 5 that includes Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel and Bobby Cannavale. Respect must be paid.

    That assumes you can stay alert for The Irishman’s yawning 3½ hour runtime. I clicked play at 10pm, so wasn’t at my sharpest as Scorsese’s mob odyssey wound down through its final reel well after 1am. At least I watched it on a hella big flatscreen, so the Pope of Cinema should be pleased about that.

    Much has been made about how ruminative The Irishman is, with its glum celebration of mid-century-men-acting-badly the capstone on Scorsese’s oeuvre of such men. Plus, he got the band back together one last time, with more HOF actors working ensemble than ever before, including Al Pacino for the first time!

    Its evocation of a cornucopia of criminality is classic Scorsese, as is its portrait of America through a lens darkly, including showing GIs as the bad guys in WWII. Sheeran claimed this was all true, but art doesn’t belong to its inspiration. The art’s creator, Scorsese, has long gotten off fingering the underside of America.

    Let’s end this summary by answering the key question about The Irishman. Not did Frank Sheeran off Jimmy Hoffa? The answer to that is almost surely no. But, is The Irishman the best movie of the year? No.

  3. Perfect 5.0

    Robert De Niro – the Olivier of toxic masculinity – delivers yet another inimitable mobster performance as Frank Sheeran, who spent a lifetime in organized crime. The Irishman is essentially his autobiography, albeit its veracity is somewhat akin to that of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Chuck Barris’s fever dream of an autobiography. Sheeran can rest easy in his own little corner of hell now that his misbegotten life has been memorialized by De Niro, the moviestar who sits alongside Brando atop the acting pantheon.

    • Al Pacino appears in a Martin Scorsese movie for the first time in The Irishman, amazing but true. It’s a doozy of a role — major national figure Jimmy Hoffa. Pacino plays the infamous union boss as a live wire. It’s a terrific performance, one of Pacino’s best, which makes it legendary.
    • Joe Pesci plays mob boss Russell Bufalino as a deeply centered guy, which is unlike most Pesci roles, and therefore strangely fascinating.
    • Ray Romano plays his cousin Bill Bufalino, corrupt lawyer for the Teamsters. Romano can act.
    • Harvey Keitel does little more than cameo as mob boss Angelo Bruno, conveying serious gravitas in his brief time on screen.
    • Bobby Cannavale plays on the varsity alongside De Niro, Pacino, Pesci and Keitel. He nails it.
    • Anna Paquin cameos as Peggy Sheeran, hitman’s daughter. She disapproves of her dad’s line of work. Lucy Gallina has more screen-time as young Peggy, a sensitive girl.
    • Stephen Graham is a hoot as mob boss and Teamsters local president “Tony Pro” Provenzano.
    • Kathrine Narducci gives mafia princess Carrie Bufalino serious swag.
    • Jesse Plemons is always great, here as Jimmy Hoffa’s stepson Chuckie O’Brien.
    • Jack Huston is little more than ok as Bobby Kennedy.
  4. Male Stars Perfect 5.0
  5. Female Stars Perfect 5.0
  6. Female Costars Perfect 5.0
  7. Male Costars Perfect 5.0
  8. Really Great 4.5

    The Irishman is almost clinical in its long list of particulars: how adults interacted with children in the sixties, how Catholic priests interacted with penitents, how mob families and families in the mob acted, and on and on and on. Call it Scorsese’s clinic.

  9. Direction Really Great 4.5

    Where does The Irishman rank among Scorsese’s Mob Movies? Below Goodfellas and above Casino.

  10. Play Great 4.0
  11. Music Great 4.0
  12. Visuals Perfect 5.0
  13. Content
  14. Sordid 2.8
  15. Sex Titillating 1.6
  16. Violence Savage 3.9
  17. Rudeness Profane 2.8
  18. Glib 1.5

    The Irishman spans thirty years. So Scorsese’s choice was to go the traditional route of using young actors and then putting old-age makeup on them, or the new fangled method of using old actors and “de-aging” them for the young scenes. He made the right choice, especially because the old actors are Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino. No offense to Millennials, but how do you compete with that murderers’ row?

  19. Circumstantial Surreal 2.6

    The Irishman tells tall tales. Did Frank – The Irishman – Sheeran kill Jimmy Hoffa? Many experts say no.

  20. Biological Natural 1.0
  21. Physical Natural 1.0

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