Let’s Get Reel: The Irishman

I have a Thanksgiving tradition. Every year, I rewatch The Last Waltz, Martin Scorsese’s look at the final concert of The Band, Thanksgiving 1978. It is my favorite concert of all time.

Well, I broke tradition this year, partly out of necessity and partly out of “oh look, something new and shiny”. I digitized my DVD collection a couple years ago, and don’t even have a DVD connected in my house any more. And my Macbook is still down, so I don’t have access to my movie library, because it is on a Mac-formatted external drive.

Luckily, Scorcese has something new out now on Netflix. He got the band back together. No, not The Band, but the band, nevertheless–Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Peschi, for The Irishman.

The movie is a lengthy look at the life of Frank Sheeran, the rumored killer of Jimmy Hoffa. It is a story of friendship, the mafia, loyalty and the testing of when livelihood’s are pitted against each other.

Following De Niro’s Sheeran, we see his version of the Hoffa mystery as he told it to reporters before his death, with a little JFK/Hoffa/Mob conspiracies thrown in as well.

I admit this is a world that has always fascinated me, and most guys my age. It was just long enough to go to seem mystical. It holds a power with it’s intrigue.

This one leaves behind the grandiose bravado and gratuitous violence, but it still has violence and death all the same, of course. Only, it tries to give the why.

The cast is aged now, but that also provides a tone of reflection to the movie instead of just action. For a while in the movie, I missed what made the tone of this one feel different, but by the end, that aged reflection in the performance was the best I could come up with.

And I meant “for a while”. This movie is 3 hours, 30 minutes. Watching at home on Netflix, there were several pauses, go do something, watch a little football, come back, resume. I treated it kind of like episodes.

Also, I really like watching Stephen Graham, who gets to follow up his Capone from Boardwalk Empire by playing Tony Pro in this one. His role is smaller, but he steals scenes with a Hall of Fame cast.

This one may not be as rewatchable as some of the most noted in the genre–Godfather, Goodfellas, Casino, etc., but is still excellent, and definitely worth the 210 minutes. I even watched the 20-minute Talking About The Irishman also on Netflix.

It is what it is.”

Rating: 93/100.


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