Irishman, The (2019)

A mob hitman recalls his possible involvement with the slaying of Jimmy Hoffa.

Craft 68%
Artistry 78%
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Reviewed on December 3, 2019 by Jon Kaye


Rated R, Biography, Crime, Drama, 209 Minutes

The Irishman is a beautifully filmed movie with some very creative ideas but, in the end, it is a one-dimensional mob movie with terrific actors.  The movie centers on the Philadelphia (and Detroit) mob, Frank Sheeran, and Jimmy Hoffa.  There is really no portrayal of Frank's family, which is dramatically affected by his actions, Jimmy Hoffa's family, nor anyone else associated with the men. The women are merely present, often just to smoke cigarettes and be there.  Aside from that, the movie carries you along for three hours and then seems to just drag for the last thirty minutes.  The movie is not as tight as Scorsese's past efforts and it shows.  The movie drags often, especially during the final thirty minutes.  Better editing would have rewarded both Scorsese and the audience with a much better cinematic experience.

This is a big screen movie and I am sorry it will not get broader distribution prior to being shown on the small screen.  Mr. Scorsese says the movie could not have been made via the traditional studio process (NY Times Op-Ed, 04 November 2019).  Perhaps, but a lot is lost on the small screen.

Interestlingly, "I heard you paint houses" are the first words Jimmy Hoffa ever spoke to Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran.  Robert De Niro described on The Tonight Show that the term along with "I also do my own carpentry work" refers to both the hit and the clean-up.

What I Liked
  • Wonderful cinematography
  • Solid performances by the lead actors
  • Nice soundtrack
What I Didn’t
  • Needs editing
  • Weak to non-existent development of family characters