The Irishman (2019)
***Historical events, so spoilers do not apply***
The first thing I am going to say is that this is going to be an exceptionally positive review
Make no mistake, I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS FILM!
I saw this on Netflix, and it is not currently available elsewhere.
Director: Martin Scorsese.
Robert De Niro as Frank Sheeran
Al Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa
Joe Pesci as Russell Bufalino
Ray Romano as Bill Bufalino
Bobby Cannavale as Skinny Razor
Anna Paquin as Peggy Sheeran
Lucy Gallina as young Peggy
Stephen Graham as Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano
Harvey Keitel as Angelo Bruno
Steven Van Zandt as Jerry Vale
Look at that cast! And that is just the headliners. Everyone else is great too.
I will start this review with one word, ‘RESTRAINT’.
Joe Pesci is restrained. Older, less hysterical, more composed. And no cackling.
Pacino, known best lately for shouting rather than acting is also less hysterical. Hardly any shouting at all. (Well, a bit)
De Niro is suitably restrained too, and also narrates the story, told in flashback/flash forward. He is ‘The Irishman’.
In fact, everyone is restrained, and the film is all the better for that.
If you liked ‘Casino’, you should like this too.
If you liked ‘Goodfellas’, you should like this too.
If you liked ‘Mean Streets’, you should like this too.
If you liked ‘JFK’, you should like this too.
Alright, what’s it about?
Jimmy Hoffa was the charismatic leader of the Teamsters’ Union in America. (Truck drivers) The union had so much money in contributions and pension funds, that it helped to bankroll the Mafia in the 1950s. Hoffa became a famous personality, and also a famous gangster, due to his Mob associations. He ‘disappeared’ in 1975, and to this day his whereabouts are officially unknown, although he was declared dead in 1982. Irishman Frank Sheehan is a truck driver, and ex-WW2 soldier. One day, he happens to meet a mob figure by chance, when his truck breaks down. That gangster is Russell Buffalino, (Pesci) and he takes a liking to the man, bringing him into the organisation. Petty theft leads to becoming a mob hitman, and then Hoffa’s right-hand man and bodyguard.
Meanwhile, the mob is unhappy with JFK, who has not honoured his pledge to get them back the gambling joints in Cuba, and harassed by his brother Bobby, who is the Attorney General. Nobody trusts anyone, and as time goes on, many leading Mob figures are ‘disappeared’, and Hoffa is getting out of control. When the Mafia chooses Provenzano over Hoffa, events come to a head, and something has to give.
This is conventional gangster fare. Families, wives, girlfriends, divided loyalties, and lots of people ending up dead. Politics, betrayal, and lack of trust.
But this film is just WONDERFUL!
Locations, settings, costumes, music, (even that is by Robbie Robertson, who used to be in The Band) and a flawless feel of time and place.
Before you say it, yes we have seen many similar films before.
And yes, it is long, (three hours and twenty-five minutes) but that length worked for me.
If you didn’t like ‘Goodfellas’, you are not going to like this.
If you don’t like gangster/Mafia films, you are not going to like this.
So if that’s the case, my advice is don’t watch it, then you won’t have to complain later.
For me, it was five stars. With bells on, and an airhorn sounding, as well as a choir in the background.
Can you tell I liked it?
Here’s a trailer.