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First critic reviews for Scorsese’s THE IRISHMAN

higemaru

Banned
Nov 30, 2017
1,846
My bad Anna Paquin. Posting when tried can make you make mistakes, but I still stand on the fact that more could have been done with Peggy as a character to show the tension between her and her father and how say Hoffa's son reacts to his father's death. It's important in that she abandoned him.
But the important bit is that Frank is barely around for Peggy and by the time Hoffa is killed, she chooses to ostracize him. Frank being totally alone in the world in “retirement” is a more nuanced and depressing comeuppance than some big emotional display. As for the son, well, he’s incidental, like so many people in Frank’s life.
 
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Scullibundo

Scullibundo

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,102
So this was great. Fantastic performances all around too. The relationship between Pesci & DeNiro was unexpectedly and understatedly emotional. Both were fantastic and Pacino is magnetic. I look forward to rewatching it on Netflix when it hits.

Don’t go in expecting something with the energy of Goodfellas/Casino, though. This movie is a very different beast, even if you’ll recognise a lot of the same DNA. It has a more meditative pace to it. Scorsese downplays the pomp and flash of the mob life in this one.

As an aside, the CG work is actually as convincing as any de-aging stuff that exists. The problem is that DeNiro still moves like an old man. There’s a particular scene where it sticks out.
 

Kest920

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,111
So this was great. Fantastic performances all around too. The relationship between Pesci & DeNiro was unexpectedly and understatedly emotional. Both were fantastic and Pacino is magnetic. I look forward to rewatching it on Netflix when it hits.

Don’t go in expecting something with the energy of Goodfellas/Casino, though. This movie is a very different beast, even if you’ll recognise a lot of the same DNA. It has a more meditative pace to it. Scorsese downplays the pomp and flash of the mob life in this one.

As an aside, the CG work is actually as convincing as any de-aging stuff that exists. The problem is that DeNiro still moves like an old man. There’s a particular scene where it sticks out.
This. people are expecting this to be the next gem I enjoyed it for what it was but after you realize why this was made and picked up specifically for Netflix. Also a few people in my theatre fell asleep . The reviews give it more credit then deserved imo
 

Glenn

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,017
So this was great. Fantastic performances all around too. The relationship between Pesci & DeNiro was unexpectedly and understatedly emotional. Both were fantastic and Pacino is magnetic. I look forward to rewatching it on Netflix when it hits.

Don’t go in expecting something with the energy of Goodfellas/Casino, though. This movie is a very different beast, even if you’ll recognise a lot of the same DNA. It has a more meditative pace to it. Scorsese downplays the pomp and flash of the mob life in this one.

As an aside, the CG work is actually as convincing as any de-aging stuff that exists. The problem is that DeNiro still moves like an old man. There’s a particular scene where it sticks out.
yep I know the exact scene. The de-aging looks a lot better as the movie goes on.. but that very first scene of young Deniro and Pesci is shocking. It literally looked like a next gen game.
 
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Scullibundo

Scullibundo

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,102
yep I know the exact scene. The de-aging looks a lot better as the movie goes on.. but that very first scene of young Deniro and Pesci is shocking. It literally looked like a next gen game.
I’m not sure you’re thinking of what I am, lol.

I’m talking about
when he confronts the grocery store owner about shoving his daughter.
 

Window

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,903
Cross posting from the movies thread. Best to avoid reading until you've seen the film.

I've been trying to navigate through my thoughts on this film. It's vast and long with several digressions which can make considering it as a whole a tad challenging. We begin with DeNiro as an old Frank Sheeran at an old age home, sitting in a wheel chair, wearing glasses (which seem to feature prominently on characters throughout the film). As the camera glides through the hallways of this place and then settles in on a close up of his face, he starts recounting almost immediately his past. This is a little jarring and abrupt but becomes a bit more acceptable thinking back on the ending. Sheeran is desperate to make a confession, only he doesn't know how, he's still bound by the code of his adoptive family. And so the rest of the film plays out as his confession to us, the only audience whom he trusts with his secrets.

He lays out bare all the things he's done in his life, which only seems to begin with his first run in with Pesci playing mob boss Russel Bufalino. Both DeNiro and Pesci in these initial scenes look very off-putting. Pesci's face especially looks and moves like a wooden doll. Thankfully things get better as the film moves along, once we begin to see characters on-screen age come close to their actors' real life age. That's not to say the de-aging effects work is unconvincing at all times. There's a scene with DeNiro early in his career wearing a beanie and jacket, shaking down someone who owes money to the local mob boss where he appears genuinely intimidating like he hasn't in years. I think the costuming, the body language and perhaps most importantly his voice convey a ferocity which the rest of the scenes of him playing his younger self lack. The film could have been more clever about pairing visual effects with costuming like this. Outside of suits, most of the time we see Deniro in skin tight shirts with a puffed up chest. his younger face not matching his body. That's all I'll say on the youthification of the actors, as it's not of central importance nor is it a big detriment, as long as you're willing to suspend your disbelief a bit.

The film in the first hour plays out as a 101 on the money making and power broking schemes of the mafia. Scorsese's rendition of this is different than the energetic, seductive lessons on the inner workings and dangers of the gangster life he's given in the past, taking a more measured slower approach. That's not to say he doesn't employ his fast cutting, slow mos, needle drops he's known for. He does this extensively in the first third of the film. At this point though, this is familiar territory. So much detail is thrown towards us in Deniro's slightly slurred narration on who fucked over who, how someone set up a nice hustle that I grew disinterested. It's not as alluring as Goodfellas but it still intends to convey to us Sheeran's attraction to this world early in his life. I'm not sure it works. Not because it renders this world as revolting but because it takes a serious interest in the mafia world as an alternative means of doing business, as a market unto itself whose rules are something worthwhile to be discovered and deciphered. This theme follows throughout the film and I'll bring it up again. The details feel like superfluous noise and plotting to get us to verbal confrontations between characters, which is where the film really shines. The violent confrontations though is where Scorsese's intentions are made absolutely clear. They happen quickly without any elegance or the ironic beauty of his previous films.

The arrival of Pacino's Hoffa jolts the film to life. Pacino's Hoffa has an indelible warmth beneath all the bravado, anger and schmoozing charm. (It's probably his love of ice cream). It's the loudest performance of the film sure but it's not a lesser one for it. The relationship between him and Sheeran is the emotional core of the film. The best moments are him and Deniro in bed talking shop, with each others' family or him spitting fire upon those who cross him (and there's many reason for him to become cross). Is he a hopeless and stubborn idealist who won't take no for an answer? Or just another power hungry narcissist? The film leaves it for you to decide. One can argue it leans towards the latter but Peggy, Sheeran's daughter claims Hoffa fights for the workers rights and is a hero. You can choose to take that at face value (or not). Peggy and Hoffa's father-daughter relationship is a highlight. His confrontations with Tony Pro (played by Stephen Graham) are some of the best bits in the picture. When Bufalino finally tells Sheeran what must be done over breakfast at the motel they're staying at, Deniro's gaze is powerful and haunting. We understand the weight of what this ask means to this man as we know his love for Hoffa. Deniro's screen presence through most the film feels minimal and understated. He simply exists and follows orders. You get the feeling there is nothing to this man. Deniro underplays him to a fault. The scenes where does talk (including the narration) make me think he has lost the ability to deliver dialogue effectively. But when this conversation happens and in all the increasingly tense and desperate gazes he gives Hoffa through the film, you realise how broken this man is. Deniro conveys devastation in this scene without saying a word. A later scene where he tries to console Hoffa's wife over the phone while distraught feels rehearsed in comparison. Pesci is even more impressive. His calm demeanor gives his every word and shift in expression (behind the large frames sitting on his face which make opaque much of his eyes) much more weight, turning him into an intimidating figure. Glasses seem to play an important role in the film, though its exact meaning beyond the obvious (to hide and filter ones true self) is a mystery to me. Bufalino is always donning glasses. Sheeran's wearing glasses through most their road trip together. Bufalino asks Sheeran to give them to him when Sheeran is tasked to conduct the hit on Hoffa, returning them once the deed's done. If nothing else (and there is much else), the film is an acting tour de force.

Hoffa's arrival also brings into picture the Teamsters union and further continuation of themes of the alternative market. Earlier in the film, we see one small time gangster's efforts to blow up a new competitor industrial laundry business who is beginning to encroach on the profits of his own laundry business. Sheeran takes on the job not telling his superiors in hopes of making a little money for himself, to support his growing family he says (he recently had another child). Everything is planned, he'll blow up a car near their operations to scare them away. He's interrupted before he can go through with it though because it turns out the the biggest mob boss of the city has a stake in the competitor. And so the small time gangster must now be eliminated. Competition is crushed based on who you know, not rules of the market. Labour unions are no different than the mafia apparently. A competing union is starting up and stealing members from the Teamsters, so Sheeran's commissioned to scare them off (by blowing up taxis which I found a bit amusing as a double call back to Taxi Driver and Henry Hill blowing up the parking lot in Goodfellas). The union also 'invests'/lends the pension fund money from its hard working members to the mafia (interest free in some cases) to finance their big projects. A compromise for the union to maintain their power and serve its members for the greater good, at least in the views of Hoffa for while he was president. This corruption of the fair rules of the game extend through to the very height of America, to its President (Kennedy), who is also complicit. The thirst and quest for power through bullying, cheating, by any means possible seems to permeate through all of American life in Scorsese's world view. Doesn't sound so different than the state of the US today. The film stresses this point repeatedly as we see many major political events of the 60s play out in the context of the mafia's connection to them. "Do you want to be part of history?" Hoffa asks Sheeran in their first phone call. History it appears is written by the unknown higher ups Bufalino hints at, who may as well be Scorsese's version of 'The Man'. Everyone else, like Sheeran is no different than a foot soldier. Sheeran treats his work as no different than any other working man. He's supposed to be a twisted version of the working man which unions exist to stand up for. Their labour laws and lawyers defend him and allow him to retain his job as a truck driver after he's caught stealing meat. In the end, he's chewed up and thrown out by his own work life. I take a lot of issues with this whole thread of the film. It sits in the background throughout and is not immediately apparent but explains the film's continued fascination with history, politics and details of mafia/union business. There is some truth to what's being said and a film need not be all encompassing on its topics of interest but I find these views to be narrow. The parallels of mafia life and the 'normal' life though are too thin to be taken seriously. These people's lives are too alien to be familiar. Their struggles feel so decoupled from that of the real average working man. Yes, everyone wants money and power and to feel a sense of belonging but that's too simple of a motivation to draw comparisons on. Besides the little aside about supporting his growing family, we see or understand little about Sheeran's motivations. Maybe a greater focus on his domestic life would have helped sketch this out. We don't get much of it outside the judgmental stares of his daughter Peggy and his change of wives (which happens too casually). It would articulate his emotional isolation throughout his life and then manifesting as physical isolation in old age more clearly. As it is, it's all work, work, work.

At last comes the section of the film where we see these titans of power decay into old frail men and eventually into nothing. They have been abandoned by seemingly everyone, left alone to themselves with no one but each other to rely on for support. The mob bosses who previously decided the fates of men so casually now need to be wheeled around and even fed. Interestingly, these aren't the only men who are shown to suffer this fate. Earlier in the film, we see an old Joseph Kennedy all alone sitting in a wheelchair on his verandah with his back to us as he looks out towards nothing in particular, as his time of death appears in text on screen. Gee I wonder what Scorsese is saying here. The specter of death is present throughout the film as we're given the time and method of death of many characters when they're introduced on screen (I was surprised this didn't happen for Bob Kennedy as well). We see Sheeran struggling to walk - falling over in his own home with no one around to help him up, struggling with his prescriptions and pills, desperate to reconnect with this daughters. One can start to feel a little sorry for him. This can feel like cheap sympathy wringing. I did not find the themes of time and ageing to be as compelling as the film's views of power and institutions (even if I have issues with the latter). What is surprising and interesting about the ending though are Sheeran's prayers and half confessions with a priest. He does not appear to be remorseful for his past, with the exception of his betrayal of Hoffa. At least he does not appear so on the surface. There's certainly something which is drawing him towards god. Beyond forgiveness, I think he's seeking meaning, he's seeking an end to his emotional isolation. It's night and only a few days to Christmas, he's alone in his room at an old age home, he asks the door to him room to be left slightly ajar. This a callback to an earlier scene where Hoffa is about to forcefully shut close the double doors of his bedroom as he's heading for sleep but surprisingly leaves them slightly open. Sheeran is in the living room outside serving as his night watch. Does Sheeran in the end hope for someone outside his room to be keeping a watchful eye over him, for them to intrude and awaken him from his lifelong slumber?
 
Oct 25, 2017
6,279
Saw it yesterday in San Francisco. What a well done film and man that last hour...as much to do about the movie as it does to do with one last hurrah for DeNiro and Marty.

The movie really lets everything marinate and not just show the flash with quick cuts and jumps...you’re in that moment with these characters and the process that gets them from one point to the other.

Pesci with a super understated performance, DeNiro throughout is a man with very little remorse and feelings so the few glimpses you see of it are really felt; he killed it, and Pacino was far more animated but he brought a lot of life to the movie. Trifecta of awesome performances .

also got this bad boy signed by Marty ...

How'd you see him up close? Didn't he leave right after his short speech?
 

Practice?!?

Alt-Account
Banned
Nov 2, 2019
64
How'd you see him up close? Didn't he leave right after his short speech?
There was a little line outside for people to wait to get things signed. I got there earlier in the day to have dinner and noticed some people with posters and they told me he’ll probably sign things briefly at some point before or after the speech, there was this Walgreens next to the theater so I literally had a poster made on the spot lol.
 

Courage

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,635
NYC
Been thinking about this movie nonstop since last week. It legit might be my favorite Scorsese film
 

lazybones18

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,637
It must be my lucky day. Instead of having to wait until next Friday to see this movie, I'm gonna see it this Friday
 

shintoki

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,709
Well... favorite movie of the year. Year has been pretty rough for me, but we've had a massive turn around this past month
 

lazybones18

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,637
Thank you Marty for making Pacino actually give a shit once again. He was easily my favorite part of the movie.

It was heartbreaking to see Hoffa get killed by Frank (nice Goodfellas callback for the scene btw). No wonder they could never find his body. As for the de-aging, I didn't find it to be a real distraction. Was a bit put-off by the scene where Frank beats the shit out the grocery store clerk. Frank's body movement definitely looked like a senior citizen was doing the beatings. The stuff with the daughter...I mean they could have given Anna Paquin more than one line of dialogue. Don't think the film was bloated, but with the daughter subplot being pointless, they probably should have cut that stuff out. I found the ending to be satisfying at least. I was waiting for Frank to kick the bucket, but it never happened. Having him sit in a room frail and all by himself is an interesting choice for the ending that sort of makes sense in my mind. And I'm real glad there was no intermission

Will no doubt see this again at least 2-3 more times. Still have that ticket for next Friday

Never thought I would see fucking Jim Norton play Don Rickles in a Scorsese movie. What an interesting timeline we live in
 
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