The Irishman

The Irishman ★★★★½

Reviewed on Cinema Eclectica #233 - The Man with All the Southern Drawls

It's a testament to Martin Scorsese's abilities to keep me engaged for 3-and-a-half hours. The Irishman has been on my most hotly anticipated movies list for a while now, and it did not let me down. I hate using the word "mature" in film criticism: it seems to me like a cheap word to throw around when a director uses longer takes and subdued performances. And you would expect The Irishman to fit that billing. I think this is Scorsese's gentlest mobster movie rather than his most mature. And that's weird to say since Al Pacino bellows swear words like a wild friend on alcohol, and the violence is still slick and unpleasant.

And what weighs this all down is the theme of ageing. Just by hearing Frank Sheeran's frailed voice explaining all the bad deeds he committed shows that he has a lot of pent-up guilt, particularly to his negligence towards his youngest daughter Peggy. The final half-an-hour broke my heart - it ties into familiar faces no longer around, hopelessness, and the consequence of awful tasks gone south. One moment Scorsese showcases his classic crime flair, and in the next, he shows the intelligence straight from Silence or The Last Temptation of Christ.

There is no other way to describe this, I bloody adored The Irishman. There's a lot to unpack, but I'll stop here because I fear I will still be writing on the matter until next week.

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