The Irishman – Scorcese scores again

The Irishman – Ypehmish via Wikimedia

With the rise of comic book movies and other action films, Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman sports an all-star cast of Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci. The film travels back in time to the classic gangster movies that consumed the 1970s through the early 90s. 

     Based on Charles Brandt’s nonfiction book, I Heard You Paint Houses, the movie follows the story of a truck driver, Frank Sheeran, in the mid-1950s as he begins working for the mob, and more specifically, Jimmy Hoffa, the President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

     For all the money that went into The Irishman, its biggest flaw may very well be its visual flare. It looks flat and desaturated: almost lifeless. Although the vibrant performances do their best to breathe life into the film, its washed-out look makes much of it seem depressing and unappealing. 

De-aging technology is used during the film to make the characters appear younger as the overall plot spans nearly 40 years. Still newly available, the technology is imperfect.

     As seen in recent Marvel movies such as Captain Marvel, a de-aging technology is used during the film to make the characters appear younger as the overall plot spans nearly 40 years. Still newly available, the technology is imperfect. Scorsese uses it sporadically and in support of the storytelling, rather than as a gimmick that takes viewers out of the film. 

     Although the film’s runtime is three hours and thirty minutes, the story moves quickly, and its smooth pace prevents it from stalling out midway through. By the end, the various supporting characters feel surprisingly underdeveloped despite the film’s extended runtime.     Overall, The Irishman recalls the classic mob dramas of the 1990s. While it might feel a little out of place in today’s movie landscape, Scorsese’s film draw together many of the great artists of his generation in one unique project.

Author: Matthew Schwartz '21

Managing Editor Matthew Schwartz has written for The Index for three years. He previously served as News Editor.