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Review: The Irishman [Netflix 2019]

“The Irishman” was a sure bet from the beginning: directed by Martin Scorsese, with a cast list that started with Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, and with all the Netflix money. It couldn’t be bad, could it? Well, it wasn’t bad…but it wasn’t amazing, either. 

Now, of course, the cast was fantastic. You can’t really fault any of the great actors that worked on this film. Joe Pesci was the quiet, but powerful presence that the movie needed. DeNiro had a slow start and a strong finish (the more you learn about him and his character, the more you empathize with him). And Pacino felt like the opposite- he lit up the screen when he showed up, but slowly sizzled down by the end of it. Credit is also due to Anna Paquin, who had only about 2 lines to say, but was very convincing with her body language and facial expressions. 

In terms of visuals, “The Irishman” was great. Sets and costumes were on point, and the cinematography felt suited for the era. The CGI de-aging felt a bit off at the beginning, but after 10 minutes, you didn’t notice it anymore. Directing-wise? Well, it’s hard to say. There was nothing bad about it, but nothing memorable about it, either. The only cool shot I remember is the first scene, when the audience “walks” down a hall in the centre. 

The problem of “The Irishman”, for me, was the script. Let me count the ways. Slow pace. Uneventful story. Too long. Slightly cliche. Too man-focused (the women were only there to look pretty and take care of the children, with the exception of Anna’s character). For it to have worked, I would have cut it to 2 hours and made the climax more entertaining and exciting. 

The ending made me sad, because I ended up caring for and rooting for the guy. It also left me with a disappointed feeling, because I did not enjoy it as much as thought I would. 

I know it’s already getting rave reviews and awards, including Best Picture (which I don’t get), but I think there are better movies that deserve this accolade. Acting awards, sure. Best Film? No.

So, you should see “The Irishman” for its great cast, but don’t get your hopes up. It’s not a masterpiece. 

11 thoughts on “Review: The Irishman [Netflix 2019]

  1. It’ll be annoying if it gets a Best Picture nom because I haven’t found anyone who outright loved it yet. I haven’t seen it but it’s just not my cup of tea at all!

  2. I’ve been so iffy on this movie, and it’s been interesting to see the various reactions to it. I do love Joe Pesci, so it’s nice to see him getting accolades for this.

    1. Yes, that’s one of the reasons I wanted to see it in the first place….and he is great in it. We rarely see him these days, so it was a treat

  3. I feel like it’s getting all these accolades just because it’s Scorcese doing gangsters again and not because it’s really the best thing out there. I thought it was fine, but I doubt I’ll watch this again.

    1. Exactly what I was thinking when I was watching. Just because it’s Scorsese, it doesn’t mean it will be amazing. And well, it might not even be his fault, because the script was the problem….but then again he does creative control and could have done something about it..

    1. Agreed, I felt the same, I was considering stopping it after 20-30 minutes, but then he showed up and it changed my mind

  4. I, on the other hand, totally get a possible Best Picture win. As much as I’d love Marriage Story to win because it was the best film I’ve seen in god only knows how many years, I thought The Irishman was masterfully crafted. Yes, the female characters are cardboard-like and De Niro’s de-ageing was a bit distracting at first but eventually I didn’t notice it anymore and the rest was just perfect. The pace is slow but I found it very fitting.

    I’m sorry it didn’t work better for you.

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