Rob’s Review: The Irishman (Netflix)


There’s been a lot of chatter lately about Martin Scorsese’s 3 ½ hour epic long mob movie on Netflix bringing together Robert Deniro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino for the first time. Alas, after spending part of my Friday and Saturday watching it, I am here to report that everyone is both right and wrong as follows:

  • Brandon made the movie sound worse than it is
  • Anyone claiming that this is the best mob movie of all time or even a candidate for the top 10 is way more wrong than Brandon
  • The movie is waaaayyyyy too long and does not need to be (The final 30 minutes could have been condensed into 10 and still delivered the same message).
  • The ending is stupid
  • Joe Pesci looks frighteningly frail throughout the movie, and especially at the end
  • Robert Deniro, who has become a cartoon in real life, delivers an amazing performance that truly, only Deniro could. Both he and Pacino deserve Oscar nominations.

Here are some unique observations I had that I haven’t heard mentioned:

Al Pacino delivers the best acting performance of his entire career as Jimmy Hoffa. Generally, I agree with Dawn that Pacino plays basically the same character all of the time. With Hoffa, he is vulnerable, powerful, and raw at various times. I forgot he was Al Pacino many times.

What the hell with the music? One absolute MUST of a great mob movie is fantastic music properly placed throughout, and that’s a rule Scorsese himself made! Yet, in “the Irishmen,” we get “still of the night,” (Not the Whitesnake version, the five satins) 4 different times and a bunch of other really lame scores and songs (the only exception being during Deniro’s character’s award ceremony towards the end of the film when a spectacular version of Jerry Vale’s “Spanish Eyes,” is belted out by Steven Van Zandt).

Without a doubt, people are romanticizing the fact that the acting trifecta and Scorsese are united in this film. They WANT it to be better than it is, and that, in my opinion, is indisputable after watching this movie. I absolutely wanted it to be amazing. It isn’t.

Here’s a viewing tip; at about 1 hour and 20 minutes the movie shifts to Hoffa’s trial; when I watched the first time, this is when I lost interest and turned it off. I gave it another try the next day and realized this is the point in the movie when it gets slow and you have to really, really, pay attention to previously mentioned names and characters. If you can gut through that 20 minutes, the movie picks back up (until the terminally long ending).

“The Irishman,” is a very good movie, bordering on excellent, but it could have been a spectacular film, capping off four brilliant careers and it isn’t. People want it to be, but it isn’t. Within the painfully long movie is an incredible story and some amazing acting, bogged down way too much navel gazing and unnecessary story telling. The true test is this; how many people will really ever watch the movie a 2nd time? Or more telling; a 5th, 10th, or 20th? The greatest movies are those you always watch when you can. “The Irishmen,” isn’t that. It’s very good, maybe excellent. Once.

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