yondu4’s review published on Letterboxd:
Martin Scorsese RANKED
Having changed the course of cinema multiple times during his decade-spanning career,legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese has undeniably crafted a legacy that will continue to live on long after he's gone and has certainly secured a place for himself amongst 'The Greatest Directors to have ever lived'.Yet his passion for this art form is so strong that one has to wonder if Marty will ever stop making movies.Filmakers,as Quentin Tarantino often likes to remind you,usually get worse as they age,but it seems that Scorsese ages like wine as he has attached yet another masterpiece to his name.Mad Respect to him.
"The Irishman" is far from yet another mafia movie from the master of crime films and although it makes for a good companion for Scorsese's most popular film "Goodfellas",the two couldn't be more different.The flashy violence is gone as is the quick pacing & editing.No Sex either.All the shootings happen mostly off screen and a good chunk of the film is just people talking.Yet I would argue that not a single moment of the crazy 209min runtime is wasted.The 3 and a half hours flew right past by me and I didn't feel like even 90mins had passed once it was all over.That's truly masterful filmaking.
The irishman takes a much slower,methodical look into the lives of its characters allowing them to breathe and have every day conversations.They seem like real people and once you get used to the de-aging you feel like you're right there with them for the journey.By the time the clmax arrives,it's like you've known these guys all your life which makes the last couple of scenes incredibly emotional.Speaking of the de-aging,the VFX artists did a fabulous job at the Herculian task of making the actors look 40years younger for such a long period of time.My only nitpick,is that Young De Niro's face is slightly off-putting but even that is mostly because we've seen De Niro in so many films that even the slightest alteration to him will be noticable from a mile away.
This is Marty's passion project,a movie he has been trying to get of the ground for longer than a decade and it may as well be his most mature film yet.Meticulously crafted and brutally executed The Irishman is one of Scorsese's most thought-provoking and even emotionally hard-hitting films.It's the iconic filmaker looking back into not only his life's work but his life as a whole,trying to find meaning in it all.It's a film about aging,about life and death as well as the passage of time.
But it doesn't stop there.This is a multi-layered film that can be interpreted in a variety of ways with philosophical as well political and social messages.In addition to the things I said before,It's also a movie about how America and by extension the world has changed since the 1970s.Those who were paying attention surely noticed that all the deaths & executions happened from 1979 to 1981.In one interpration "The Irishman" can be a metaphor for the director himself(especially when considering the film's ending)but on another he could represent the working class that imitates/tries very hard to become like the upper class and how it loses its ethics & values in the process.Scorsese acknowledges that the world has drastically changed during his time and the mafia doesn't have the place it used to have in the bigger picture(At least not in the form most associate with it).
Of course one can't talk about this movie without mentioning THAT cast.There is something truly magical about seeing these legends on screen together.This marks the 4th collaboration of Pacino & De Niro and it's certainly been a while since either of them made a truly Great film(not since the 1990s to be exact).As you would expect however,every single performance here is Superb.And I mean all of them.
Starting with my favorite of the three,Al Pacino gives a phenomenal performance as Jimmy Hoffa.He has the film's funniest & most memorable lines and as is often the case with Pacino,you really feel his presence the minute he appears on screen.It's not as Loud as some of his other performances but it somehow brings just as much excitement.He is presented as the most human of all the characters and you really feel his struggle to keep his union.
Pesci,who returns to acting after his semi-retirement,is a joy to behold.Scorsese promised him a different role to the one he usually gets in his films and he definetely got what he was promised.He is not the short-tempered unpredictable gangster that can't stop talking anymore,this time he is calm and silent yet still remains just as,or even more feared by everyone else.Pesci is truly impeccable here and manages to say so much using only his eyes and facial expressions.
Finally De Niro gives a much quiter performance than usual and his presence is not as felt as his two co-stars.That does not in any way mean he is inferior to them tho as he manages to give a lot of depth into his character and steals every single scene of the film's final act.De Niro seems really attached to the character he is playing and it's hard to see the line that seperates the actor from the character.He also displays the most emotion out of the three and succeeds in making you care about his character despite the latter not being very likable.
Other Stand-Outs include Harvey Keitel who manages to be very memorable despite only having two scenes,Anna Paquin who I would've liked a little more of as we don't really see a lot of her as her character grows up as well Stephen Graham and Bobby Cannavale who are both outstanding.Lastly,the soundtrack and especially the film's main theme are incredible.
On an Overall Scale,The Irishman is not only The Best film of the year but it has in my opinion already made its way into the history books and is one of the biggest "Cinematic Landmarks" of the 21st century.Scorsese's most personal and mature film to date is a true modern "Epic" that paints the world of the mafia with a very different.Although the door is still open for Scorsese to direct more films,this really feels like a final bow from people who have been working on this medium for decades Which is fascinating(Seriously how many legends have gotten proper send-offs on screen).
A week has passed since I saw it yet it's just as clear in my head right now and I can only see myself liking it even more in the future.I didn't think any 2019 film would surpass this year's Canne Winning "Parasite"(which I saw last month and adored),but 2019 is just really that good.Bravo to everyone involved!!
-On a sidenote people who know me personally,know that I've been against Netflix from the very start and have always labeled them as a "Threat to Cinema".After the Irishman,I'm not really sure if I believe that statement much if at all anymore.They were the only ones to finance this movie after all..