Martin Scorsese, arguably America’s greatest living director, returns with his $140 million Netflix gangster epic The Irishman. With a massive runtime clocking in at 3 1/2 hours, Scorsese gives us an electrifying and contemplative retrospective on the gangster genre he helped devise. This time around, Scorsese (Mean Streets, Goodfellas, Casino) isn’t interested in glorifying the life of organized crime. With The Irishman, he tears down all that power and prestige with a bulldozer.
Robert DeNiro plays Frank Sheeran, a WWII veteran who befriends Russell Buffalino (Joe Pesci) of the Buffalino crime family. Sheeran soon becomes an entrusted hit man for the family and is assigned with the task of befriending Teamsters’ union boss Jimmy Hoffa (A marvelously manic Al Pacino). Through flashbacks, Sheeran recollects his rise and fall in the world of organized crime and his ultimate involvement in the fate of Hoffa.
We walked along with Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) in Goodfellas as he entered the Copacabana nightclub through that back kitchen exit, handing out wads of cash like Halloween candy to the celebrity-worshipping staff. This was Scorsese showing us that maybe, deep down inside, some of us wanted to be gangsters—If even for a brief moment. If films like Goodfellas and Casino painted a picture of the “before,” Scorsese is finally giving us the “after.” The Irishman’s Frank Sheeran gives us a glimpse of what it’s like when that glitzy nightclub closes down and all that’s left in a once ornamented life are memories filled with regret, remorse, agony, and anguish. The Irishman is a modern-day classic that fittingly puts a bow on a genre that one legendary director has perfected.
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By SCOTT PETERSON
cinesportstalk.com | @CineSportsTalk