Martin Scorsese's newest gangster epic with a running time of nearly 3 hours 40 minutes, stars his frequent collaborators Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci as Frank Sheeran and Russel Bufalino respectively. Al Pacino joins the cast as an American labour union leader and president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Jimmy Hoffa in the Netflix film released on November 1.
The legendary Italian-American director stirred up controversy during the press run for his film earlier this year due to his comments on the Marvel movies not being "real cinema", a sentiment he later he clarified on an article he wrote for The New York Times on November 4.
In the article, Scorsese sticks to his guns while offering up an explanation for what he meant, saying, that Marvel movies have some elements that are found in classic cinema but they are more theme-park rides than narrative stories.
Regardless of the filmmakers' best intentions, his comments certainly ruffled some feathers in the entertainment industry as it was spoken with respect to his latest film funded by Netflix for their platform, after a 2-week theatrical run.
A contemplative modern gangster-epic with some flaws
The film, which is an adaptation of the 2004 book 'I heard you paint houses' by Charles Brandt tells the story of Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran, a World War II veteran who later started to work for the Buffolino crime family as a hitman and mob-enforcer.
Unlike previous works, Scorsese approaches the material with new-found maturity and fascination, crafting a film that goes beyond telling the story of turmoil between the mob families and Hoffa over control of the Teamster's Pension fund, as it also focusses on the friendships forged between the characters over the years.
The de-ageing technology is pretty much unconvincing
Despite electrifying performances from the trio of legends, Pesci, De Niro, and Pacino with strong supporting performances from Ray Ramano and Stephen Graham among others, the technical ambitions of the film that go unrealized in the form of the unconvincing de-ageing technology used on the actors make the film a slog.
Actors who are in their seventies are reimagined as their younger selves in their forties and fifties with the help of CGI that works for the most part but can sometimes be a distraction as the movements of the characters on the screen feel unnatural.
The film is a contemplative piece on themes of ageing, friendship, loyalty and violence told in the skin of a 'gangster epic' receiving rave reviews from critics on its reserved approach to the genre, already receiving 5 Golden Globe nominations.
In league with El Camino as one of the most talked-about projects of 2019
By all means, 'The Irishman' should be a massive financial failure grossing only a fraction of its massive budget, however, it is a Netflix film whose success is calculated by the company's own metric.
According to various year-end lists, the film has amassed nearly 26 Million views within the first 7 days of its release. Taking the bonkers 3 hours plus running time of the film and one has to watch nearly 70% of the movie for it be considered a view, it is no surprise that the film is being considered a success.
Another milestone the film crossed that officially put it on the map as one among the most talked-about projects of 2019 is the fact that it aced the Aaron Paul starring, Breaking Bad spin-off movie 'El Camino' which previously held the title as the most-watched film of the year on the website with 25 million views.