Raphael Georg Klopper’s review published on Letterboxd:
Everything that had to be said about this, still’s being talked about, just to prove the level of grandeur Martin Scorsese’s latest masterpiece succeeded so completely on everything it seek to achieve, and more! So much so that I had the opportunity to watch the movie before its initial release on Netflix and made two videos about it, www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-S2_w_t-SU (a review in Portuguese), and a response to some negative criticism www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFfPbkFhIQg&t=6s.
But still, all felt a bit incomplete, due to the fact that the film steadily still grows strong while you still caught yourself thinking and dismantling about it. A big long text will be hard, and resume everything even harder, so let me just touch on pivotal cinematic characteristics that are part of the rich filmmaking behind The Irishman.
- It’s the underworld crime thriller of the 30s meeting the post noir drama from the 40s and 50s, and crossing path with the 60s political thriller, plus the revisionist look and feel from the 70s, all met together forming an real life sized historical epic about the spreading underworld increase and influence on big chunk of America’s history of the past century;
- It’s the visual historical portray of Barry Lyndon, pictorially retracting its times and eras with paintings in motion, with the varied use of colors differentiated between each era showing the great mind used behind Rodrigo Pietro’s brilliant color palette choices at each passing frame, or better, each passing decade;
- A Robert Bresson-isch pacing and type of individual analysis and reflective narrative (Steven Zaillian is a genius), mixed with Scorsese’s gangster films montage (Thelma Schoonmaker is a BEAST) and themes;
- The historical scale of entire decades of individual personas straight taken from Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America with the dramatic scale intimacy of Coppola’s The Godfather trilogy, including some great subtle nods. But also teeming back from Raoul Walsh’s The Roaring Twenties that, just as Scorsese, stitches the morph of different eras colliding into one story, and through that, metalinguistic speaking, shows the crime gangster genre alive till this very decade, maybe meeting his end;
- This may come out as understatement, but is also one of Scorsese’s and De Niro’s most personal films, both talking about themselves, their age, the regrets, the lost dreams and lost forgiveness to all the beloved ones, and a redemption that now seem long lost and impossible, but whose hope may still be breading through the confession. A confession to a priest? Or a director listening the confession of its characters, its actors?! Or confessing himself through the screen. Is the Fellini and Mastroianni relation yet again, the author, director and actor meeting and breeding into one being, the cinematic one;
The look and stare to a unclosed door it’s the poetic tragedy of one’s who will, while still breads, be on the wait of something that may never come…
As it is a acting statement from the grandeur of both Robert De Niro and Al Pacino as all-time giants of cinema, yet again, showing the very best of what they are able at their age, as it is to a SUPERB Joe Pesci maybe giving the best out of his entire career, even a one scene marvel of Harvey Keitel brought joy to my heart. And yes, Anna Paquin, even in few scenes, is not only superbly acting the observant silent witness and powerfully reacting to the horrors all with the empty eyes of pain.
Meeting all this guys in the same room and scenes, is all the fan-service I ever wanted to live to see and have the knowledge to know the level of importance and big deal of it. Historical generations meeting, behind and front of the screen, once more, to tell a powerful and resonant human story only a master like Scorsese would know how to tell. Is Goodfellas and Casino meeting Once Upon a Time in America friendship, memories and regrets tale. The final and epic mob movie ever made, and that’s nothing lower that masterful!