With a belly full of turkey, I sat down at about 9:30 last night to “start” watching The Irishman, and didn’t end up turning it off. And this morning, it’s all I want to talk about. So, before I read any other reviews, or hear from too many people who may color my judgement, I’m going to give my first thoughts. These are high level, not giving away story details or any spoilers…so if you haven’t seen it, you can feel free to read on.
I’m gonna get this out of the way right at the top: the movie is really good. I don’t want to rank it against other Scorsese movies yet, because I’ve seen Goodfellas 37 times, and opinions and appreciation changes and ages over time. But I feel confident The Irishman belongs in the canon of Scorsese greats.
There are a ton of nods and callbacks to mob movies, especially Goodfellas, which is always fun.
Deniro, Pacino, Pesci are all fantastic, and deliver classic performances. Deniro does this stammering/ stuttering thing throughout the movie, which he’s kind of done before, but it really fits this character. Pacino as Hoffa has it dialed back just enough, where it’s really on tune. Pesci just does some great Pesci stuff, as usual.
Aside from them, if you’ve ever seen any mob movie, “The Sopranos”, or “Boardwalk Empire”, you’ll recognize and enjoy about 100 other people in this movie.
Ray Romano- though I’m not entirely sure why he’s in the part- is really great.
It’s so Long
All everyone is talking about is the length of the movie (3:29), and I have some opinions on this. First off…this is far from the first 3+ hour movie, and the way things are going, it ain’t gonna be the last. Friggin Titanic was 3:15 and that movie was boring as shit. Not to mention, they let you watch this one on your goddamn couch. You can pause it for chrissakes. So suck it up, buttercup, and quit the bitching and moaning. That being said, they could have easily shaved 40-45 minutes off of this movie, and not lost anything.
The CGI Shit
As everyone knows, they used some fancy CGI de-aging trick on the actors throughout the eras the movie covers. At first it’s kind of noticeable. As Mrs. Le Cap pointed out, Deniro’s face almost had a Polar Express quality for a moment, but we both found that once you see each character for like 30 seconds, it fits in seamlessly. Big nod to the nerds on this one.
I could explain the scene, hell, I could even show it to you, but it wouldn’t do it justice out of context. But let me assure you there is a First Ballot, Hall of Fame, hilariously quotable, seems-like-it’s-too-long-then-goes-even-longer-which-makes-it-better, scene centered around a discussion in a car about a frozen fish. The actual dialogue is A+ and Deniro’s reaction shots take it to the next level. The thing that makes it so great, though, is that it takes place right in the middle of the most pivotal and suspenseful part of the entire movie. Genius work by Marty.
Again, it’s long, but it really wasn’t a huge issue for me. They could have shaved down several scenes, but it’s Marty, Bobby, Al and Pesci…just let them play long.
The movie is based the account of Frank Sheeran (Deniro), and I get a real Forest Gump- vibe. Like this guy seems to be a first hand participant in every major event from 1960-1975. A little too neat for me, so I’m pretty sure he’s largely full of shit on a lot of it… but hey, I don’t believe most of what Henry Hill said either, and it didn’t ruin Goodfellas, so overall I’m fine with it.
Deniro is clearly, 100%, in no way, shape or form, an Irish guy. But I’ll repeat the refrain… it’s didn’t ruin Goodfellas, so it didn’t ruin this, either.
That’s all I got. Watch the movie, and don’t let the hype train turn you off. It’s excellent.