Evan DePasquale’s review published on Letterboxd:
So I was sitting on my couch watching this on Netflix when about an hour in I realized I could have seen this at a cinema.... however I do not know if I could have sat there for so long so Netflix worked just fine.
That being said, no matter what format I can definitely recommend this film as I was hugely skeptical of this from hearing a lot about it. Everything about this film feels so carefully crafted and you can really tell that Scorsese puts his heart and soul in his films. This film you can especially tell as this to me seems like it could have been his most personal film in terms of the main character possibly reflecting some of his own feelings. I am not sure if this is true or not, but the way the film progresses with De Niro’s character it definitely feels that way.
What I found mostly interesting about the film actually was the characters. In some of Scorsese’s films like Goodfellas, The Wolf of Wall Street, and The Departed all of the characters and ensembles feel more like chess pieces at least to me. Sure there are main characters that are eccentric and we get great performances, but these films in particular feel more driven by the narrative and situation rather than do a deep dive on the humanity of the characters. The Irishman however seems to really ground the characters in reality and also show the consequences of living a life like they were. I think everyone gives a great to amazing performance with Joe Pesci giving the best (and most Oscar worthy) performance out of everyone.
The only reason I can’t give this the full 5 is because it does drag in some scenes and I found the film to steadily get better as it went on. But this means I wasn’t fully convinced from the get go, but by the final shot I was very very impressed. I cannot stress enough that you should at least give this a try as it really mixes a lot of the things Scorsese does best and makes a mob epic with it, but I can fully understand if you can’t make it past the 1 hour mark.
EDIT: Bumping this down to a 4/5 because I have decided I don't think I ever want to watch it again, but it is still an incredible film that feels more honest and emotional than most of Marty's work.