The Irishman (2019) – Dir Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese returns to his gangsta movie roots with this tale of a hitman recalling his life with the mob and working for Jimmy Hoffa

Starring Robert De Niro (Goodfellas), Al Pacino (Scarface), Joe Pesci (Goodfellas), Harvey Keitel (Reservoir Dogs) and Anna Paquin (True Blood).

This really is a reunion of the Scorsese favourites for one last time. Joe Pesci even come out of retirement to play the part of crime boss Russell Bufalino. But this really is De Niro’s movie as he plays Frank Sheeran throughout his life via the magic of CGI de-aging. This tech is used on a number of characters and in the most part is successful even if they haven’t been able to solve the issue of the old men’s frames!

An epic running time of three and a half hours plus, allows the story to breath. It is both thrilling and funny as we watch how Sheeran juggles his relationships with Hoffa and the mob leading to the inevitable judgement of old age as he tries to mend the relationship with his daughter (Paquin).

All the actors are on top form including a suitably over the top Pacino and the controlled menace of Pesci. Given the running time, the movie actually suits its main home on Netflix. Many critics have raved over this “last tour” for the Goodfellas team and, while I certainly enjoyed it and could appreciate its quality, I felt that it just couldn’t escape the feeling that we have seen this all before. Maybe, the same movie with different actors would have worked better.

It’s also very much a boys movie with very little time for its women. Much has been made of Anna Pacquin’s lack of lines but I think this is a red herring to the equality debate. Her lack of dialogue is central to her relationship with her father and therefore his greatest regret.

Rating – 8/10 – A quality movie about a era of American history I knew little about. Long but keeps your interest and all involved are at the top of their game. Just a nagging feeling that a different cast might have freshened it up.

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