Martin Scorsese, arguably the definitive filmmaker of the last 50 years, revisits his roots and the genre that made him a household name with The Irishman. The Netflix Original follows the titular Frank Sheeran and the events surrounding the disappearance and supposed murder of Jimmy Hoffa.
This film brings back all the big players: Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, Joe Pesci (who came out of retirement for this movie), and Al Pacino in his first outing under director Scorcese. It feels like your favorite old-school band coming back together for one final kickass reunion tour! But with that excitement comes some sadness. While Marty and this troupe of actors will hopefully continue to make films for several more years, The Irishman does feel like the final chapter or cherry on top of several long illustrious careers.
The Irishman follows a man reflecting on his past and lasting legacy. In that same sense, the director seems to be reflecting on his own legacy as a filmmaker. From Mean Streets to The Departed, Goodfellas to Casino, Scorsese’s always had a knack for creating compelling, realistic crime films. To an extent, his older movies glorify the gangster, presenting them as cool, funny, powerful, and wealthy. The Irishman looks at the genre from an old man’s perspective. It doesn’t focus on the violence itself but rather on the consequences and trauma which follow. The film doesn’t revel in exuberant wealth but instead mourns the loss of familial ties. The gangster isn’t cool in this movie. He’s tragic.
Despite the film being a story about death and regret, it’s still entertaining. The runtime is an extensive 3 ½ hours, but I was never bored or uninvested. If only Scorsese could continue making films for another 50 years.
Oh well, it is what it is…