The Irishman

‘The Irishman’ is another jewel in Martin Scorsese’s directorial crown. Director of classics like ‘Taxi Driver’, ‘Raging Bull’ and the ‘Wolf of Wall Street’, his passion for movies is still evident. Such enthusiasm has seen him deliver amazing work over the decades. Screening on Netflix, ‘The Irishman’ travels a well worn Scorsese path. It may feel familiar but is no less compelling with the performances and story top notch.

Frank Sheeran (Robert DeNiro) is an ageing hitman looking over his life. Starting out as a delivery truck driver in the 1950s, he becomes involved with the Bufalino mafia crime syndicate headed by Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci). Working his way up the ladder of crooked dealings and murder, Frank also meets powerful union boss Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino). Over the years the trio’s lives change as the noose slowly tightens on their wayward actions.

You usually can’t go wrong with a Scorsese movie and ‘The Irishman’ doesn’t disappoint. A tale of loyalty, friendship and its consequences that isn’t as bloody as you may expect. Whilst violent moments creep in, this mob drama focusses mainly on character. From Sheeran’s steely calm to Hoffa’s dogmatic personality, you come to understand what drove them to their ultimate fates. Although the occasional action sequence is great, Scorsese revels in his shady characters.

The central performances in ‘The Irishman’ are outstanding. DeNiro, Pacino and Pesci exude magnetic charisma even through the sometimes wonky de-aging CGI effects. They are well matched by their co-stars who embody their roles perfectly. Virtually none are sympathetic but there’s a certain sleazy charm they exude making them compelling. It’s amazing all this is based on true events proving once more that truth can be far more fascinating than fiction.

Yet again Scorsese delivers the goods with ‘The Irishman. Although it goes on for three and a half hours, due to his fantastic story-telling abilities, it rarely betrays its length. Netflix and other streaming services have benefitting from giving the freedom to directors like Scorsese who still have the hunger to provide interesting works as his latest does.

Rating out of 10: 9


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