The Irishman

The Irishman ★★★★½

Mainstream storytelling tends to over-moralize nowadays. Condescendingly leading the ignorant horse (as we’ve come to regard the viewer) to water, maybe even shoving its snout toward the trough — mistaking it for the same thing as making us want to drink.

We seem steadily more afraid that if we don’t spell it out emotionally, they won’t get it. How can they feel it if I don’t make it painfully obvious how they’re supposed to feel?

Here’s a weird idea — show me something true. Maybe show me several true things. Moments that seem true in isolation, but create dynamic tension and seeming contradiction when juxtaposed. Present them plain, unadorned, and matter-of-factly. Let me live with them and allow me to make whatever determination I judge correct.

And if you can weave it through the fabric of 20th Century American history (maybe in a way that invites a metaphorical association between your central character and the symbolic, prototypical American figure), then well done. 

Some people won’t like this because they think it's boring. Or maybe that it’s not the kind of thing a movie should be — something that asks you to do work rather than the sitting back and being entertained that we’re accustomed to. As a culture, our increasing failure to recognize what possible value something that doesn’t “just entertain us” could have bodes ill for the future.

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