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The Irishman

Martin Scorcese’s latest film, based (probably loosely) on the life of Frank Sheehan (played by Robert DeNiro), an associate of the mob and of Jimmy Hoffa, is very impressive. There are two narrative strands that weave to form the overall story and narrated by Frank Sheehan in the present from his nursing home: The road trip that was taken by him and his mob boss Russell Buffalino (Joe Pesci) to attend a wedding and meet with Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino) and the story of how Sheehan rose in the ranks as he did. The acting overall is great, but the performances by DeNiro, Pesci, and Pacino are brilliant – the choice to cast these three, veterans from previous mob films and Scorcese films was excellent. They all do a great job of playing younger and older versions of themselves. DeNiro and Pesci are especially great – both disappear into their roles and give their characters deep believability. Even though I think some parts of the story were created for dramatic effect, the overall story, at its 3.5-hour length (I had to watch it in two sittings), is well shot and scripted for a very compelling story; I could not figure out what I would cut if I could. The capturing of the period through the music and cinematography are also excellent, even down to the wives who were constantly demanding their husbands take cigarette breaks while on their drive to Detroit – those hairdos and Virginia Slims! And, thanks to this film, I now know what it means to “paint houses and do my own construction”. Big thumbs up from me for an impressive achievement in storytelling and character development. (2019; 4.5 Stars)

About Gary Burkholder

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