Dearest reader(s), Monday I spent nearly half of my day off trying to digest Martin Scorsese's The Irishman.
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailer.
An aging mob hitman recounts his past and his relationship with infamous union leader Jimmy Hoffa.
Let it be noted I've already taken much heat for suggesting this film might not be the second coming of Christ...or at least the second coming of the Godfather. Take me to task if you will, but I've probably already heard it. That being said: I didn't hate this movie. I think it's being classed a masterpiece by default, because the individual pieces *should* add up to something spectacular. In my mind they don't, BUT...I didn't hate it.
Let's start with the obvious: the Irishman is too long to be as slow as it is, or too slow to be as long as it is. There are plenty of moving pieces, but it's not half complicated enough to justify such a bloated runtime. Robert DeNiro is, of course, more than alright in the lead; it's a role he could sleepwalk to awards glory. His by-the-numbers assassin isn't particularly sympathetic, but, portrayed as a normal person ravaged by age and a few pangs of regret, he appears to be the good guy...or maybe the least bad guy? Al Pacino's Jimmy Hoffa is an ice-cream loving buffoon, so convinced of his own untouchable status that he almost seems an easy mark. It's a convincing performance, but not a particularly noteworthy item on the Pacino CV. The supporting cast is a who's who of "that guy who was in that mob movie": Joe Pesci, Bobby Cannavale, Harvey Keitel, Stephen Graham, Ray Romano. Everyone is capable; no one is remarkable. The film does feature a pretty terrific soundtrack of old 50s and 60s nuggets, with Marty Robbins' "A White Sport Coat (and a Pink Carnation)" bringing particular joy to this old 60s nugget. The Irishman is an interesting enough story that, unfortunately, isn’t particularly well told, although the movie did prove a marginally better sleep aid than the most recent Avengers flick, so there ya go, Scorsese: you got one over on Marvel.
The Irishman runs an interminable 209 minutes and is rated R for "pervasive language and strong violence."
The Irishman is a deliberately-paced tale of violence and betrayal.
While its individual ingredients taste of past brilliance, the finished recipe is more Monday night leftovers than Christmas dinner. Of a possible nine Weasleys, the Irishman gets five.
Fangirl points: Jack Huston!
Until next time...