(Warning: Spoilers. Cause as usual, I don’t care)
Finally watched it last night. Initial reaction:
Well lets start with what’s good. All the performances here are outstanding. I didn’t think Joe Pesci could do calm. He plays the most subdued part of his career. Its Pesci in the non-Pesci role. Honestly, this may be the best performance of his career.
It’s a stacked cast and everyone is bringing their A game. Probably because its Scorcese.
There is also a gimmick in the film I really like around Scorcese’s ancillary characters. In his movies, there are always a pile of other mobsters who don’t have a big role in the story but were…like there…in the history. So he feels compelled to give them a shoutout. Like Jimmy Two-Times from Goodfellas.
Here, when we have an ancillary character, you get a shot of how they died. Like this:
Once the actual theme of the movie reveals itself, it really all comes together.
Lastly, the movie is shot extremely well. No shit. Its Scorcese. he’s like an actual filmmaker and shit…now….THAT being said…..
Here is my overall problem with this movie. The first two and half hours….I did not fucking care. About any of these characters, anything anyone said, etc. The last hour, you finally realize what this film is actually about.
Its actually about getting old and dealing with it. Especially coming from this mob world. You grow old and your kids can’t talk to you, cause they know you are a fucking killer. All your friends are either dead or in jail. And you are left by yourself trying to piece together your life.
The last hour is masterpiece worthy. It truly is. Its a new take on the mob story. Something fresh.
However, the first fucking two and half hours is a goddamn slog. This feels like Ron Howard directed it. Not in terms of shots, in terms of story. There is a bunch of shit that happens because it happened in real life so we have to put it in. Then this shit happened, so we have to put that in too. Then there is this other shit, so we have to do that.
There is a sequence early on where De Niro’s Irishman is tricked into almost blowing up this dry cleaning company cause it is squeezing on someone low on the foodchain’s business. Right before he is about to go blow it up, he gets pulled into the big boss’ restaurant, where he finds out that the big boss owns that drycleaner. Now he has to go kill the guy who asked him to blow it up.
And its this nice tracking shot that follows De Niro as he walks up to his original contact, shoots him twice in the head, and then disposes the gun…
And the whole time that was happening I thought, “This is nice….and I don’t care.”
I really didn’t care about any of this. Which is weird to say of the story around Jimmy Hoffa, which is kind of like the Ark of the Covenant of mob stories. But its just so paint by numbers. Guy gets propped up by the mob. He lets the power go to his head, ego, whathaveyou. Gets told to stop. Doesn’t. Dies. Rinse. Repeat.
The bulk of this movie feels like a retread. And in the most uninteresting way. The whole time I was watching this, I was like. Remember Goodfellas:
There is nothing this interesting in The Irishman, and this movie is only 2 hours.
There are a thousand scenes in Goodfellas that are memorable. Hell, I may be able to quote you the bulk of that movie. The only scene I will remember from the Irishman is when De Niro has to go pick out his coffin from Action Bronson, because there is no one else in his life.
And I get it. This is supposed to be an apple and oranges comparison. Goodfellas is ostensibly telling a different type of mob story than The Irishman, but even writing that sentence doesn’t make me care.
In a world where you are going up against The Godfather, Goodfellas, Casino, and Once Upon A Time in America, you have to bring your best shit. I figured, this is Scorcese. He already did it twice at least. Could easily do it again. Nope.
This movie is a boring ass traffic jam through mob history that brings nothing new to the table until the very end. Honestly, if I were a studio head, I would have probably passed on it as is. Or like, make the first 2 hours into a 30 min montage or something, find a framing device for it, and make the super old period longer. Cause that is fucking interesting.
2.5/4 – Honestly, I can’t imagine sitting down to watch this movie again. I will watch Goodfellas another 500 times before I watch this movie again.
Also, why wasn’t this song over the ending credits.