Samuel Schofield’s review published on Letterboxd:
Martin Scorsese’s magnum opus.
The Irishman is the greatest work from one of the greatest directors cinema has ever seen.
To get the obvious out of the way, the de-ageing effects used are questionable. Whether it be the shaky lip movements or Scorsese’s constant collaborator De Niro’s eyes being a neon blue worthy of a blade runner movie, there is work to be done here. That being said after a few scenes the effects seem to settle and become unnoticeable, it would help to say the effects here are much better than the effects used in the recent Star Wars films to bring back deceased actors.
This film seems to be a culmination of a glittering career, although Scorsese has done brilliant films outside of his mob flicks such as, Taxi Driver, Wolf of Wall Street and silence, the mob flicks are where he shines best. The Irishman stands on the shoulders of Goodfellas & Departed but does so proudly. There’s obvious connections to be made across the three films in regards to loyalty and power but those themes comes across a lot more real in Irishman. Take goodfellas for example you can feel the relationship between Henry (Ray Liotta) and Tommy (Joe Pesci) is significant to the extent you can understand the emotions they share given the events of the film. In Irishman however Scorsese uses the loyalty of the characters to build them up then ultimately destroy them, the way the supporting cast pull Sheeran in a million directions until he’s forced to make a decision in a 20 minute segment that will stay with me forever is masterful.
The performances in this film might be the greatest I’ve seen in a film , I mean this in regards to a whole cast smashing every single role they’re given. De Niro and Pacino hammer home performances but Joe Pesci delivers the performance of a lifetime and maybe my favourite ever. Pesci in this film is a small man who casts a very large shadow, his presence is felt even when not on screen, you can see his words reflect in the actions of characters around him. On screen however is when he truly shines, his simple mannerisms and line delivery although aren’t explosions in emotion they deliver just as powerfully as any line given to us by Daniel Day Lewis in There Will Be Blood or Joaquin Phoenix in Joker. It is a truly remarkable performance unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
This film will likely be the final hurrah of this great collaboration and what a way to finish it is.