Matthew L. Brady’s review published on Letterboxd:
Jimmy Hoffa: “I heard you paint houses.”
Frank Sheeran: “Yes, I do.”
It’s a great day when you get to see a new Martin Scorsese movie, but a new gangster movie staring some of one of the greatest actors that have ever bless cinema, now that’s killing two birds with one bullet. I’ve said this many times before, but whenever Scorsese releases a new movie - I’m there, as I have 100% faith he will deliver something so crafted in style where his passion to create a fresh new experience for audience to slip right back into loving movies. And Scorsese has made another masterpiece.
‘The Irishman’ is an old school masterpiece. A sweeping epic that’s so rich and timely through it’s presentation that I was reminded of the likes of Coppola and Leone. Everything from the razor sharp back and forward conversations with characters, long takes, and the fantastic use of music that helps create the setting and time period.
Now let me talk about the visual effects in the movie - something that everyone including Scorsese himself was worried about. While at first it was a bit uncanny to see fresh faces from De Niro, Pacino and Pesci. The movie has a difficult task, because the entire runtime takes place in the past and occasionally it will cut back to a present day/older De Niro, aka what he looks like now, so it’s so easy to judge on the cgi wizardry. I can safely say you really get use to it after awhile and doesn’t distract from the amazing performances, as I could still feel the emotion from their faces. I bought into it and the evolution of the technical is absolutely astonishment.
Robert De Niro plays a cold, yet charismatic gangster, Frank Sheeran - a friend of Jimmy Hoffa. He follows orders to kill and dose it without a sweat. His children are afraid of him and have seen both sides of him, which would later hit him harder than a million ton of bricks. He doesn’t need to say or do anything to express the characters thoughts and feelings. Fantastic as usual.
Al Pacino plays a loud month Jimmy Hoffa that’s a huge ball of energy and reeks of desperation, which Pacino portrays beautifully. From ‘Dog Day Afternoon’, to this, it’s amazing how Pacino never lost that fiery energy that makes him so captivating to watch. The fact he’s never been in a Scorsese movie baffles me, but am loving his comeback recently.
Joe Pesci plays Russell Bufalino, a silent and collective man who sniffs out trouble and takes care of “business”. If you expect to see the nut job Pesci, then think again. He’s brilliant in the movie. It’s great seeing Pesci back after disappearing from the spotlight for a couple of years, and it’s almost like he never left at all.
With the run time of 3 hours and 29 minutes, not a single frame felt pointless. At times the length was felt, but I was never bored. Thelma Schoonmaker, the editor of Scorsese movies is a legend and needs no introduction. Without spoiling anything, but there’s an incredible scene involving a woman terrified to turn the car engine on as the camera lingers on a shot of keys hanging in the ignition waiting to be turned. When she dose there’s a sharp cut to an exploding vehicle (not hers) with the engine roaring as the sound affect. The most tense scene in the entire movie.
And the cinematography by Rodrigo Prieto was excellent with the use of color that made it visually striking.
Martin Scorsese, the man who revived the gangster genre for what it is and now he’s the one to bury it. The shot outs are often unexpected and messy - basically violence in general. Almost similar to ‘Once Upon a Time In Hollywood’, because there’s an underlining message of age and the modern generation slipping through as the old ways ain't the same anymore. You are taken through a journey of a mobster from youth to old age.
Overall rating: Cinema at its finest. I’m just in awe of the thought we got a movie like this where no other studio wouldn’t dare to touch it for some reason. What an experience.