The Irishman Review
What’s It About?
The memoirs of Frank ‘The Irishman’ Sheeran, and his life in the company of powerful crime boss Russell Bufalino, which began in the 1950s.
Who’s In It?
Robert De Niro (The Godfather Part II, Raging Bull, & Joker)
Joe Pesci (Goodfellas, Lethal Weapon, & Home Alone)
Other notables include:
Al Pacino (The Godfather, Carlito’s Way, Scent Of A Woman, & Once Upon A Time In Hollywood)
Stephen Graham (This Is England, Boardwalk Empire, & Rocketman)
Director: Martin Scorsese (Goodfellas, The Departed, & Hugo)
Excitement levels have reached fever pitch for so many reasons with The Irishman: Scorsese’s return to the mob genre; the dream retiming of Scorsese & Robert De Niro; Joe Pesci’s return from retirement; and Scorsese’s first (incredibly) collaboration with Al Pacino.
With so much riding on it, and the film in development for ages, it was never going to live up to the hype - surely?
And yet, somehow it does – with lashings on top. Based on the book I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt (code for carrying out hits for the mob), the story follows Frank Sheeran, an Irishman from Philadelphia fresh from WWII, who ends up working for mob boss Russell Bufalino.
As the quiet, determined and efficient Sheeran rises through the ranks and gains the trust of Bufalino, he is entrusted with more responsibility, including cleaning up, as well as managing his friend, the increasingly erratic Jimmy Hoffa.
Told through a series of flashbacks from an unemotional Sheeran, The Irishman is up there with the best of Scorsese’s previous work recreating that classic mob period, complete with the camaraderie, the jokes and yes, the violence.
And with the use of de-ageing technology, Marty has been able to use his preferred cast, and tease one of De Niro’s best performances in decades as the diligent yet emotionless Sheeran, with Pacino playing the hothead Hoffa brilliantly, though the real plaudits should go to Joe Pesci, fresh out of retirement, who delivers a calm, quiet almost likeable character, but with just enough menace to hint at the terror that lies beneath the surface.
There is also a fabulous support cast too with the likes of Stephen Graham, Ray Romano, Jessie Plemons, Bobby Cannavale, Harvey Keitel and an underused Anna Paquin.
Despite coming in at a lengthy three and a half hours, The Irishman is a must see and one of Scorsese’s finest films and is a must see.
In A Nutshell:
With extraordinary performances, an expert director and a gripping storyline, The Irishman is up there with Scorsese’s best.
The cast and their performances
The de-ageing technology
Another Scorsese masterpiece