The Irishman

The Irishman ★★★★

It’s going to take several viewings to really appreciate it, but Scorsese’s greatest achievement here is getting a really sad film about ageing made under the ostensible cover of a gangster movie. It’s elegiac and sad and has few of the thrills of Scorsese’s earlier films in the genre and that’s a good thing, because it’s about older people doing things wrong out of stubbornness and wrongheaded belief in the positives of tradition. Weirdly the de-ageing stuff mostly works because it feels like Sheeran slightly remembering the past wrong, with all the memories there but the movement stilted and off

A few other thoughts: the ending seems a bit too much but it’s important. Goodfellas ends abruptly but also cyclically. Casino ends with our anti hero compromised but still surviving. This just tootles on in increasingly melancholy cycles as we realise how the alternative to the swift death in the Mafia is basically loneliness and sadness. Also, the fish sequence just feels like Scorsese showing us just how lazy Tarantino’s similar diversions really are. A masterclass of using comedy to divert from horror. And finally, all this stuff about Paquin not getting enough dialogue really misunderstands what her role is: it’s a physical performance, and a brilliant one, demonstrating how much Scorsese understands silent film acting and performances. Brilliant