Larry Fried’s review published on Letterboxd:
Seen as part of the 57th New York Film Festival (2019).
This is a deceptive one. What begins as a drier, stuffier Goodfellas slowly (and do I mean slowly) evolves into something entirely its own. Some people have been calling this a "late-stage" mob movie, and yeah that sounds about right. It's a movie about what happens when the party is over; after every bullet has been fired, after every hit has been made, what do you honestly get to show for it? And that fascinates me. I just don't think we needed two and a half hours to get there.
Filled with countless aging and de-aging effects, several rough spots of editing, dry performances, and some of the most artless action in a Scorsese movie, it would be very easy to write The Irishman off as low-tier Scorsese and be done with it. It starts off rocky and barely seems to get its footing until Pacino enters the picture (he's the MVP of this movie btw). It reeks of scale that feels half-hearted and unneeded. But then that last hour sneaks up on you, and suddenly it's a whole new emotional side of the Scorsese mob drama. De Niro and Pesci don't seem to have been given much direction until the last third, when they both just nail every line. The shift is shocking, but makes for a truly gorgeous final hour. But don't be surprised if this Netflix-release sees many a pause break.