The Irishman

The Irishman ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

“When I was young, I thought house painters painted houses.”

When The Irishman starts, it seems like nothing can go wrong for Frank Sheeran. By chance, he meets Russell Bufalino, a seemingly small event that changes everything.

“...and I met what was gonna turn out to be the rest of my life.”

A scene that stands out to me near the beginning of the film is when Frank beats up the grocery store clerk, who pushed his daughter after an accident in the store. In a violent act of a caring father, Frank crosses the line, beating the clerk to the ground and kicking him repeatedly, all in front of his daughter, Peggy. This is the first sign of a rip in their relationship.

Later, Frank meets Jimmy Hoffa, who quickly swoops onto Frank’s life and instantly gains the love of his family, especially his daughter. Frank is now Jimmy’s right-hand-man.

“Which side are you on?”

Another stand out scene to me is at Frank’s banquet, where Jimmy presents him with his award. Despite the night being about him, Frank ends up becoming nothing but a spectator to the events around him, first Jimmy and Russell arguing, then Jimmy dancing with Peggy, essentially stealing Frank’s daughter away from him. He’s watching a relationship slip out from under him, with Jimmy doing the pulling.

“I heard you paint houses.”

The buildup to Jimmy’s murder is almost agonizing. While we’re not exactly sure what’s bound to happen, Frank shows that something isn’t right. Over ten minutes pass after Frank arrives in Detroit, but when the murder finally happens, it’s done in a split second, 20 years instantly down the drain.

“Why haven’t you called Jo?”

This is the breaking point of Peggy and Frank’s relationship, as she comes to the realization that Frank was involved in the disappearance of Jimmy. She hardly says a word in this scene, but her chilling gaze at Frank says enough.

“Do you think he’s alive?”
Perhaps the most gut-wrenching scene in the film is Frank’s phone call to Jo. The guilt takes over his brain, he can hardly get a word out, all he can do is lie and reassure her.

“Everybody’s dead, Mr. Sheeran.”

As time goes on, Frank sees his friends pass away, and soon enough he’s the only one left. This is when everything he’s done in the past comes back to bite him. He’s alone, not even his family comes to visit him. He spends his time praying. He’s come to terms with his life, and now he’s just waiting to move on. 

“Don’t shut the door all the way. I don’t like that. Just...leave it open a little bit.”

Beau liked these reviews