The Irishman

Andrew Wray, Reporter

Netflix has finally released Scorsese’s latest film, The Irishman, which was a massive gamble, but still came out technically impressive and deeply impactful.

The Irishman is based on the book I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt, which follows the story of Frank 

Sheeran (Robert De Niro) and his involvement with the Buffalino crime family and the teamsters union.  However, the movie mainly focuses on his relationship with Russell Buffalino (Joe Pesci), a high ranking member of the mob, and Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino), who was the President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

The movie takes place from 1949 to 2000 and jumps between time

 periods for most of the film. While at first glance, this timeline may seem unimportant, it was a significant risk for two reasons.  First of all, they had to make sure that they wrote it in a way that made it easy to follow through its 209-minute duration, and it’s safe to say that they succeeded. Second of all, the main cast is made up of older gentlemen, which means they had to use VFX to de-age the actors.

VFX artist Pablo Helman had to create brand new de-aging technology that wouldn’t interfere with the actor’s performances. Making this movie had its share of challenges. However, most parts it turned out very well, and while some people are still critical of the de-aging, Paul Helman said in defense “Keep in mind that we’re not looking to recreate younger versions of the actors, but rather new creations that are younger versions of the characters.”

The one downside of this film, however, was the length. The film is entertaining for the most part. Still, at times, especially in the middle, there is an excessive amount of expository dialogue, and after a while, it just seems like the characters are repeating themselves. The structure of it makes it easy to find a stopping point, so it may be smart to watch it in multiple sittings.

The length is really a small complaint, though, as this movie gets a lot more right, then it gets wrong.  When it wants to, The Irishman can be so cold-blooded that it becomes comically uncomfortable. The ending is also so heartbreaking that it is almost hard to watch. 

Besides some slight VFX slips, this movie is a total technical knockout. It hits all the targets, with great performances, cinematography, lighting, set and costume design, and a plot so crazy it’s hard to believe it’s based on a true story. So while at times it may seem long and hard to sit through, this movie’s themes of loyalty and friendship, mixed with the harsh, raw scenes, make it a must-see movie.