Frank Ritz’s review published on Letterboxd:
There's no need to even wait to proclaim it; Scorsese has undoubtedly made his masterpiece, and I'd be beyond stunned if it isn't what he's most remembered for decades from now. What I Heard You Paint Houses (the true title of the film) brilliantly accomplishes is only capable in the hands of someone like Scorsese. Someone who has been in the public consciousness for such a long time. Someone who helped propel a genre further, more than a few times, and got his name closely associated with it. Someone who wildly experimented throughout the entirety of their career. Someone who clearly had the same fascinations no matter the subject of the film. Someone who had an almost arduous, but unabashed, love for film, devoting his entire existence to it. Of course, De Niro, Pacino, and Pesci, can be grouped into this line of thinking as well from the performer side; but the magic is being lent from Scorsese. While there is tons of familiarity in this film, especially in it's early parts, even in relation to other Scorsese works, it's on par, if not better, than those. What makes this film so special, is the final 80-90 minutes, which wouldn't hit half as hard, had it not had a life like build.
Look, most will never be able to relate to these men in specific ways, but in the broad scope, the terrifying thing is, none of us are any different. If you work a 40 hour a week job, you're a workman like Frank. If you went school, got a job, had a family, then you're like him. If you were ever a soldier, or you followed someone's guidance closely (family or otherwise), then surprise, you're like him. Sure, most of us aren't psycho killers without remorse (which, ya know, he inevitably is), but we are all products of our environment, just trying to get through to the next day, and maybe do a few things along the way. This thing captures the scope of working life like no other movie I've ever seen. Throw in some inconsequential politics, that also continues to cycle as age goes, and you see, that everything can matter in a moment, but nothing will matter in a lifetime.
But facing this misanthropically driven nihilistic reality head on, Scorsese puts on his bravest face and stares death in it's eyes, and reflects, and questions, even if Frank is only beginning to by the end. The actors have to be doing the exact same thing. They bring such terrifying excellence to their parts, because it is the culmination of everything that came before it, just by nature of the project. Legacy is everything, and what drives us all in the grand scheme, money is in the day to day, and just like the fact we all bleed red, we are all tied to a capitalistic system, that will never die. Scorsese chooses something palpably entertaining, because it's a life that usually goes unlived, to examine the fears, and truth, within us all.
Betrayal. Death. Murder. Love. Lust. Money. Corruption. Friendship. Solidarity. Business. War. Violence. Anguish. Fear. Parenting. Living. Truth. Confessions. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work.
None of it ultimately matters, because we all end in the same place; just in different ways, and at different times - you'll see. It is what it is.