The Irishman ★★

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

This review may contain spoilers.

There might have been a good movie in there if Scorsese had been willing to chip away at the marble a bit to find it, but instead he left pretty much the whole block and the results are an overly long, overstuffed monstrosity. There is not a single interesting character in the whole movie and the relationships between these uninteresting characters are never explored to any depth to justify a 209 minute run time. You can give me a bad person at the heart of a story and if he or she is interesting, I'll still be riveted (Scorsese has done this many times before), but De Niro's Frank is simply boring and on film, being boring is a much worse crime than being a bad person (especially if the movie is three and a half hours long!).

I wish the visual effects - akin to watching a video game - had been the worst part of The Irishman, but they were among the best. After a promising opening hour, the whole thing collapsed under its own weight, an aimless story that goes on far too long (did I mention that it's well over three hours in length?!) and then when you think it should be over, it goes on for another 45 minutes of useless epilogue. I wonder if Scorsese, unaccustomed to effects pictures, got overwhelmed making what amounts to an effects picture and lost his focus on everything else because usually there is a visual flair to this his pictures that is 100% missing in this one, which looks like it was shot for exactly where it will mostly be seen- television.

There really could have been a good film in there, one that in two hours instead of 3 and a half, explored the friendship between Frank and Hoffa and one friend's betrayal of another. What Scorsese gave us is a bloated film that tries to say too much and ultimately says nothing. He could have told the story of the romance of the mafia and organized labor so much better by giving a simpler tale of friends who each represented one of the sides, but for whatever reason he chose to bypass entertainment and directed a textbook.