In the 1950s, truck driver Frank Sheeran gets involved with Russell Bufalino and his Pennsylvania crime family. As Sheeran climbs the ranks to become a top hit man, he also goes to work for Jimmy Hoffa — a powerful Teamster tied to organized crime.
“I heard you paint houses” will now and forever be lodged in my brain as a chilling euphemism that I wasn’t expecting. It’s also the title of the book that this film is based on. The Irishman focuses on the true events of truck driver turned hitman, Frank Sheeran as he recalls being a party to events that led to the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa. However, due to naysayers referencing that some DNA doesn’t match, the details of his claims have been called into question since the book’s release in 2004. The film, directed by Martin Scorsese marks the return of the popular gangster movie trio of Pacino, Pesci, and De Niro. With a runtime of three and a half hours, the R-rated film proves that Scorsese has mastered the art of storytelling. Every detail is necessary and the time flies by as you are engulfed by this gangster gem. Not only did I get Goodfellas vibes, but like that story, this story is just as ruthless. With its reminiscent score and raw captivating cinematography along with the overall tone of the film The Irishman is a must-see film. We are transported back to a time when cars had character, mobs ran everything, and bullets had a name on them; you don’t miss when you’re doing walk-ups. The members of the crime family were introduced in such a clever way, I only wish crime scene pictures were attached. That will make sense once you watch it. With nuggets of history folded in, the story is ultimately about family, friendship, respect, and loyalty. However, some are loyal to a fault but when living in such a cutthroat environment, sometimes you have to do what you have to do. I mean, it is what it is, right?
Plot & Pace
I found the pace of this film to be like a glass of aged whiskey, neat. It’s familiar, smooth, and you take your time drinking it, no need to rush. This is a film that is just as much about the journey as it is the outcome of the journey. Following two storylines of Frank Sheeran, The Irishman displays the inner workings of the Bufalino crime family and how an outsider became one of it’s most important members. At this time, Jimmy Hoffa was one of the most well known and influential individuals as the President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters union. Eventually, Jimmy and crosses paths with the Bufalino family and things get interesting. Things are broken down every step of the way, making the story easily digestible yet still complex. Themes of family and loyalty coupled with violent mob killings and an unbelievable story, what more can you ask for? Sadly, this may be the last time we see the holy gangster trio together.
Characters & Chemistry
There’s an unmatched chemistry between Pesci, De Niro, and Pacino. Robert De Niro playing Frank Sheeran is the Darth Vader to Russell Bufalino’s (Joe Pesci) Emperor Palpatine. He respects him, was taught by him, and will do anything for him. The amazing thing about the holy gangster trio is that they truly become the characters they portray. I now know the personality, charisma, and driving force behind Jimmy Hoffa because of Al Pacino’s performance. Along with a familiar supporting cast, you authentically live in 1950s for three and a half hours.
I know many of us are upset with Scorsese over his comments about superhero movies. However, don’t let that cloud your judgement and make you miss one of the best films of the year.
The Irishman releases had a limited theatrical release but will be available on Netflix on November 27th. Enjoy the movie.
Director: Martin Scorsese
Runtime: 3h 30m
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Observing the human race since 1988.