The Irishman

The Irishman ★★★★

The Irishman (2019) - A

Meticulously crafted and steadily-paced from start to finish, The Irishman is a superbly acted character study and probably the longest film I’ve ever watched. I didn’t necessarily enjoy the film as this is definitely not the type of film I would choose to watch. However I know that that’s on me and not on the quality of the film because I could appreciate how well made it was throughout its daunting, albeit well-earned runtime.

Visually, this film was fanastic. The production team recreated the 1980s extremely well and this carried over into the writing and costumes too. Camera work is really nice and there are some impressive shots throughout. Some had problems with the de-aging effects however I thought they looked very realistic and the actors themselves behaved slightly differently which helped as well.

Coming the performances, The Irishman boasts a tremendous trio of Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci who were the highlight of the whole film for me. They are given quality dialogue, and deliver riveting performances even during the quiet scenes when the characters are saying very little and the film is just exploring how they feel. Joe Pesci in particular was so intimidating that I felt as if his glare alone could kill anyone.

The score was also excellent and provided the film with a perfect tang. It’s presence felt like seasoning on well-cooked chicken. Editing was remarkable as new characters were seamlessly introduced and the pacing was relatively consistent (aside from a couple of moments towards the beginning where the film dragged a little). The story will be familiar to a lot of people but this is easily forgiven due to the way in which it is told here.

Part of me wishes that more runtime was devoted to the family drama involving Robert De Niro’s character, however I understand that a large part of the story was that he was away from them for a long time.

Overall, The Irishman sees Martin Scorcese in his element, a director who seems to be far from losing his touch despite having made a lot of really good films. The Irishman wasn’t to my taste necessarily, and its runtime was against me in that respect, however it is still a well acted and written film that will likely go down as a modern classic.

Robbie liked this review