The Irishman

The Irishman ★★★½

I have a very odd relationship with The Irishman. I have a lot of respect for the film but there’s a lot of it that turns me off from it. With all the amazing moments, such as the last half hour, there are still parts of the film that feel off to me. I think the script is absolutely phenomenal as well as the costume and production design, but when it comes to acting, editing, and cinematography this is one of Scorsese’s weaker films.

I think with a lot of the actors they give an incredible vocal performance, but they lack in their physical performance, being 70- and 80-year-olds playing 40-year-olds. It’s the opposite problem I had with The Turin Horse, where I thought the physical performances were incredible but the vocal performances were anything but. The biggest culprit of this is Robert De Niro, who throughout the films feels off in what he’s trying to do. It’s blatantly obvious that he’s not playing the age he’s supposed to be and it takes me out of the film. The one scene I bring up a lot is the grocery store scene, which I find absolutely hilarious. The cinematography I find underwhelming as well. This may be a controversial statement, but I really don’t see the difference between the way this is lit and the way something like Ford v. Ferrari is lit. I find a lot of digital photography pretty unappealing and this is a film that falls under that category. It doesn’t look terrible, a lot of the night interiors look nice, but it’s the kind of cinematography I don’t vibe with personally. And the editing is definitely Thelma Schoonmaker’s weakest that I’ve seen in a Scorsese film. It’s, again, not terrible but it doesn’t flow as well as the editing of Goodfellas and no where near as impressive as Raging Bull.

Overall I like the film, I think the last 30-40 minutes are amazing, but yeah it’s just never really impressed me. It’s not Scorsese’s worst film and it’s not a poorly made film, but it’s one that felt underwhelming. I’ve seen it four times now and each time I think, “Maybe something will change, maybe I’ll have new insight on the film,” but it never happens. Guess I’m just not a big fan of the film.

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