The Irishman

The Irishman ★★★★★

"I heard you paint houses."

The Irishman was probably my most highly anticipated film of 2019 and director Martin Scorsese absolutely does not disappoint in the slightest. This is a drama with a running time of three and a half hours and it absolutely earns it. Not only is this my personal favorite film of the year so far, but it's also easily the most profoundly devastating and deeply sorrowful film I've seen all year. It's epic and funny as well, but most of all, it's just an incredibly sad film. I know for a fact that this isn't going to be Scorsese's swan song, especially since his next project is Killers of the Flower Moon with Leonardo DiCaprio, but it feels like it could be. This might even be his masterpiece, and especially when taking into account that his filmography is full of masterpieces, I do not say that lightly. Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci — my God is it so good to see you back in another film, Joe — all deliver career-best work here.

But if you ask me, the very best performance in the picture belongs to Anna Paquin. All the faux-woke discourse about how Scorsese and screenwriter Steven Zaillian gave her very little lines — and that if she were cut out of the film, it would've made very little difference — opened my eyes to just how ignorant people are of how acting works and what actors actually do. Not to mention that complaining about lack of dialogue completely misses the point of her character and the film in general, but whatever. It's still a remarkable, and intensely heartbreaking, performance regardless of how many words she's given. If the sole thing to judge a performance by is how many lines the actor has, then I guess Renée Jeanne Falconetti's performance in The Passion of Joan of Arc is automatically a bad performance if we're going by that horse-manure logic. I hope Paquin is given a Best Supporting Actress nomination just to spite these lame-brained cretins who seem more concerned with gaining Twitter points than they are with actually engaging with art in an intelligent way.

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