The Irishman

The Irishman ★★★★½

A sprawling crime opus that's epic in both scope & ambition, a welcome reunion for legends of the craft, and a memorable coda that provides a fitting closure to the genre this renowned filmmaker help popularised, The Irishman is one of the best all-round films of 2019 that impresses on all counts and presents its cast & crew at the very top of their game.

Directed by Martin Scorsese, the film marks his 9th feature collaboration with Robert De Niro and his very first with Al Pacino. Also noteworthy for bringing Joe Pesci out of retirement, Scorsese's latest is one acting powerhouse that presents the trio in fabulous form, and paints an engrossing portrait of mob life with its rich, layered & meticulously detailed character study.

Its 209 mins runtime sure seems daunting at first but The Irishman is one of the better paced films of Scorsese's career. It patiently builds on its premise, adding new subplots & characters in seamless fashion, and is downright riveting once it gets going. The de-ageing effects has its ups n downs but it never for once distracts from all the drama & conflicts unfolding at the film's centre.

The real highlight is obviously the remarkable performances from De Niro, Pesci & Pacino in addition to others. De Niro shines yet again as he does in every Scorsese film. Pesci returns for one last outing and makes it look as if he never left. His role is far more restrained than before yet leaves an even better impression in the end. And Pacino steals every scene he is in with effortless ease.

The rest of the cast is no slouch as pretty much everyone chips in with excellent inputs which helps improve the viewing experience and makes the drama all the more convincing. The era-appropriate set pieces add authenticity to its timeline. The steady camerawork & smooth editing keep the interest alive. And the score & incorporated songs add flavours of their own into the final print.

On an overall scale, The Irishman is a grand filmmaking achievement that easily ranks amongst the best entries in Scorsese's filmography, and is hands down my favourite of all Scorsese-De Niro collaborations. Smartly steered by an esteemed auteur who's unafraid to experiment with state-of-the-art technologies to infuse new life into old visages, Martin Scorsese's magnum opus is well-deserving of all the acclaim it has garnered so far, and is the greatest picture in the Netflix canon.

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