The Irishman review; The fading and contrived machismo of Scorsese’s gangster swansong.

Hi guys! Missed me? I’ve missed ya’ll loads. Don’t worry, I’m back and I’m back swinging with a bunch of reviews. I’m back at at it again after a busy period but it’s great to be back reviewing movies. Many more reviews will be posted in the coming days, especially with awards fast approaching. And what a way to usher in my comeback in the wordpress film blogging community than this review of The Irishman. Enjoy!

Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman is, by and large, a fading relic of cinema. Whilst I eagerly anticipated Scorsese’s final hurrah to be a last assertive stamp on the very genre he pioneered, this turned out to be the opposite. Laden with an overly-long run time, incessant machismo tantrums and shouting matches, the film is plagued by the unbearable toxicity and dread of male egotism and gangster business. While those themes do illuminate more interesting aspects of male insecurity, broken familial relationships and the deafening silence of female disapproval (mostly through Anna Paquin’s character), it is hardly enough. The Irishman’s primary perspective, voice and time are given to the gangsters who’s only redemption is their final grasp that life has made them old and frail. Scorsese’s film is a disappointment not only because nothing new is explored but also because it is a dragged-out portrait of a fading genre. It is a feeble, unmoving mess that lumbers on and on and on.

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Coupled with the incongruous and mostly unsuccessful CGI effect of de-aging the actors, The Irishman’s dearth of emotional connection is emphasized. The actor’s themselves were mediocre except for Joe Pesci. He was able to show the quiet and brooding solitude of the character which is a nice change to roles normally associated with him. However, DeNiro and Al Pacino were mediocre at best. For all the glitz and glamour, The Irishman catalyzes the nadir of a genre and the actors who once proliferated its heyday. Anna Paquin and Marin Ireland’s few scenes in the film were powerful and it is such a shame that The Irishman chose to go down the old beaten path. So much of the run-time was dedicated to the cigarette-smoking, alcohol littered rooms of gangster-talk. With all the talk about wanting to have a ‘reflective’ and ‘introspective’ gangster film, one would think of giving the matrons of the family an active voice and perspective. One would think to assert more agency in the daughters who, undeservedly, have their childhood indelibly and devastatingly shaped by the chaotic choices of father figures.

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Instead of dedicating so much time to incessant temper tantrums and conversations that mimic the ilk of ‘What do you mean? That’s what I meant!’, The Irishman should have given greater individual expression and active voices to the female characters in the film whose sacrifice (both willing and unwilling) is largely ignored. This is why I don’t buy the idea that The Irishman was giving a power to females through silence; The one silent scene is a consolation to this lumbering, ineffectual mess of bruised male egos. A characterization that The Irishman is somehow empowering or diverse in perspective is an absolutely shocking excuse to paper the cracks of a film that has been given implicit reverence and adulation. I’ll call it what it is; Neither DeNiro, Pacino, Pesci nor Scorsese saves this trite, unimaginative, machismo malady.

Rating: 4/10

What did you guys think! Leave a comment! 🙂

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. I’m with you on this one! Rubber mash faces on cgi bodies, and every second line is ‘if there’s one thing that Freddy Two Sheds taught me, it’s never to interrupt Jimmy the Snake before breakfast’. Hackneyed, tired stuff. Thanks for reviewing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad there are people who hold the same view. And thanks for commenting 🙂 This was indeed littered with so much unnecessary dialogue and gangster small-talk. Felt like a very self-important film without actually showing anything really important in this time and age.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m pretty much with you on this one. DeNiro ( who has NEVER shed a tear on camera) gives his typical wooden, two-dimensional performance, while Pesci, surely the more talented of the two, delivers a quiet, understated portrayal that is as menacing as any he has ever done before. I’m guessing Scorcese missed the class on editing, because there are at least 20 minutes or more that should have ended up on the cutting room floor. Goodfellas was a heck of a lot better!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not only is the editing weak, the dialogue and plot are also vapid and lacking. I really struggled to get interested in the film, and it didn’t help that it was a either a shouting match or a rambling from the same few characters.

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  3. beetleypete says:

    Unlike you, I loved it! There is a review on my blog.
    https://beetleypete.com/2019/12/01/just-been-watching-113/

    Much has been made of the undeveloped roles for females. It is historical, not fictional. It is not even 1980, let alone 2019. Mob wives had no role, except to produce children, be a wife, and look after the house. Their opinion counted for nothing, rightly or wrongly.
    So historically, it is accurate. If the wives of the gangsters in this film had been outspoken feminists, that would have been inaccurate. I don’t have an issue with the historical perspective, perhaps because I lived through that time. When Jimmy Hoffa disappeared, I was 23 years old. It was big news, and reported in Britain.

    And if you watch the real Hoffa union meetings online, you will also see that there was a great deal of shouting.

    It is pointless to try to watch these films with a 2019 viewpoint unless you are willing to embrace the historical period as fact.

    That said, many thanks for following my blog, though you might change your mind about that now.:)
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment! I do recognize that women were subservient during that period, but that does not mean they didn’t have feelings and thoughts, nor does it mean that a film has to focus entirely on the male perspective. For DeNiro and company to defend the film to say that the females in the film conveyed power through silence is disingenuous. I am arguing that this film is trite and is a rehash of old tropes. If the Irishman prides itself in wanting to be ‘introspective’ and ‘more thoughtful’ which many reviews seem to characterize it as, giving so little voice (internal or explicit) to the females of the film does not illuminate the film beyond the boys-club room of gangsters whose worldview is the only one we (as an audience) are privy to.

      Regardless, I found it to be too long, lacking in depth and quite honestly a bland film.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. beetleypete says:

        Thanks for getting back to me. I always enjoy a good debate about films!😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Me too Pete! It was certainly an interesting discussion 🙂 I’ll definitely check your review out!

        Liked by 1 person

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