The time has come! We have seen The Irishman, Martin Scorsese‘s latest that’s said to be Netflix’s most expensive production yet, boasting a cast of industry legends including Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci. The film is based on Charles Brandt‘s nonfiction book, I Heard You Paint Houses, which details Frank Sheeran‘s (De Niro) experiences in organized crime in post-World War II America. Pesci steps in as Russell Bufalino, a mentor figure to Frank and the person who introduces him to Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino), the leader of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
Covering key moments from 1949 to 2000, The Irishman is a highly ambitious and substantial true American crime epic and that ambition has sparked a number of burning questions: Will the de-aging work well enough? Is it worth the money? Could The Irishman wind up being another crime classic for Scorsese? Is it bound to dominate the upcoming awards season? It’s a thrill to report that the answer is a yes to all of them.
As one might expect, Scorsese, De Niro, Pacino and Pesci are a dream team for tackling Frank, Russell and Jimmy’s stories. Frank is no doubt the anchor of The Irishman, and De Niro deftly carries him through the film as tension builds, time passes and in-the-moment decisions are called into questions. But I’m also betting you’re going to be hearing a lot about Pacino and Pesci this awards season as well. Pacino relishes in Hoffa’s larger than life persona and short temper while Pesci takes a strikingly different path with Russell’s more reserved display of power and intensity.
And as usual, Scorsese has assembled quite the team behind the camera, too. The rich atmosphere enhanced by cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto‘s camerawork is a standout, and the same goes for Robbie Robertson‘s score which evolves beautifully as the undeniable darkness the characters have found themselves in further sets in. Yet another frequent Scorsese collaborator well worth additional acknowledgement is editor Thelma Schoonmaker. We’re talking about a story that spans decades, includes flashbacks, and clocks in at a whopping 209 minutes. Not only does Schoonmaker’s touch make the overall experience especially seamless, but there are a couple of noticeable moments where it’s impossible to ignore how much a perfectly timed cut enhances a key story beat.
If you’d like to hear more about The Irishman, check out the official Collider Video review I did with Blackfilm.com’s Wilson Morales in the video at the top of this article. The Irishman opens in theaters in limited release on November 1st and hits Netflix on November 27th. Stay tuned for a full written review from Matt Goldberg closer to release.