So, I finally finished The Irishman, two months after beginning it. I didn’t mean to wait so long, but the 3.5 hour run-time slowed me down and I just got busy watching more “less violent” programs. I had watched the first hour and fifteen minutes and was loving it back sometime in early December. The Irishman filled a void that I didn’t know I had: a need for a brilliantly filmed story with incredible action, convincing sets, and no CGI to take you out of the experience. Unless of course, you consider the de-aging process, which I thought was very well done and while it did have that hint of artificialness to it, it was by far the best CGI human face yet. Also, I loved how it wasn’t a gimmick for the movie, but a crucial part of telling this story that spanned decades.
The movie begins by discussing how young people didn’t know who Jimmy Hoffa was or how powerful he was, and they were right. I knew the name, I knew he went missing, and I knew Jack Nicholson made Hoffa in the early 90’s, but that was my extent of knowledge about the man. I felt like The Irishman did a great job exploring Jimmy Hoffa and his motivations, and telling an epic crime story on top of everything. It was by far the second best Scorsese film behind Goodfellas and the violence was direct, fast, and realistic. I think that was arguably my favorite part of the movie, how it didn’t sugar coat it or glorify any shootouts, instead it just got it done, loud and awkwardly and moved on.
It’s hard to watch The Irishman and not feel a sense of sadness, knowing this is probably the last epic film these men will make together. This will arguably be the last great film by any of the men (Scorsese, De Niro, Pacino, or Pesci). I loved that the supporting cast was filled with guys who acted on Boardwalk Empire and will hopefully serve as the next generation of mobsters in mob movies such as Stephen Graham and Bobby Cannavale. Anna Paquin was brilliant in her time on screen and I loved that she didn’t have any dialogue. She conveyed so much emotion and so much depth with her looks that she really stole every scene she was in.
Overall the story was great, the film went by rather quickly, and it was a joy to watch. Still, it does feel like the bookend to some epic careers and maybe even this sort of crime story altogether.