Length: 209 minutes / 3.48 hours
At almost three-and-a-half hours long, The Irishman (2019) might seem like a daunting movie to sit through. However, much like Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood (2019) gave Quentin Tarantino the space to make the movie he wanted to, Netflix seems to have allowed Martin Scorsese to create the film he wanted with little-to-no interference. Consequently, the 3.5 hours of this movie could have probably stood a bit of a trim, but the pacing is so well done as to make the time fly by (similar to another movie of epic proportions, Lawrence of Arabia (1962)).
One of the most significant strengths of this movie appears to be its de-aging technology. While it’s still a bit on the edge of the uncanny valley, the main actors did look significantly younger than their current ages during the flashback sequences. Instead of relying on look-alikes and teaching them the mannerisms of these incredibly talented actors, Scorsese took a more technical route that could fully use De Niro, Pacino, and Pesci to their fullest potential. After all, these three actors make the film what it is. I only wonder if it took this long for Scorsese to release this film because of this technical achievement.
In the end, this is a Scorsese film. He’s so intertwined with the mobster genre that I’m surprised The Irishman wasn’t released sooner. After all, most people have a passing knowledge of Jimmy Hoffa but know that the mafia in the United States was undoubtedly a real influence on politics in more ways than we’re likely to admit. If anything, The Irishman is a return to form for Scorsese and his mafia films that cemented his name in the zeitgeist of cinema decades ago. There’s certainly a lot in this movie that can act as Oscar bait, but the strength of the narrative and the performance of the actors help elevate it to an instant classic.
The mafia movie Scorsese always wanted to make, I give The Irishman 4.0 stars out of 5.