monkirat’s review published on Letterboxd:
a monumental spectacle filled with humour, charm and style but also a surprising level of depth, sophistication and sadness. phenomenal performances all around especially from al pacino who stole the show for me, and the runtime ended up being very necessary considering the scope of the film, covering years of many people’s lives so well. it's got everything you'd expect from a scorsese picture and more. the world is addicting and you don't ever want to leave it as you end up building deep connections with every single character you come across, the music was perfect for the film's tone and elevated a lot of scenes, and i can't ignore how well-made this film is from the editing and the camerawork to the CGI and the cinematography.
the film’s emotional weight can be overwhelming as themes of childhood neglect, old age and death all get explored and the characters come to confront them especially towards the end. the more i think about the ending the more i realise how unsatisfying and painful it is, how cruel it comes across and how stark it is compared to the hour that came before it. it really drove home the message that hurting people for a living will only leave you alone, paranoid, regretful and unhappy.
our characters live having to keep loved ones and friends at a distance due to the nature of their occupations, living stifled and inconsequential lives as a result, rarely having moments of real satisfaction, freedom or liberty, having to understand brutality and murder as normal and as a part of the routine. they never get to question why they do what they do but always have to regard the importance of obligation and power which leads them to neglect the relationships that matter and focus more on maintaining the relationships with higher-ups. as someone that deeply fears growing old and being forgotten, this film really ripped open an already festering wound and it felt horrible.
the level of nuance and personality all of the characters in this film ended up possessing was beautiful and so entertaining, i mean the subtle character details and the eventual development of their flaws and dangerous eccentricities was amazing to witness and it really made the whole experience worthwhile. this was a fantastic film and it really went above and beyond my expectations, martin scorsese really has cemented himself as an incredibly talented director and i am so glad this film has only helped retain his undeniable legacy.