Ah, The Irishman – a cinematic masterpiece directed by Martin Scorsese that stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci.
Based on the 2004 nonfiction book I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt, the Oscar-nominated film was distributed by Netflix and instantly became one of the streaming platform's biggest movies ever.
If you haven't seen it, you may be wondering what it is all about and if the hype that surrounded it was worth it. So let's delve a little deeper…
What Is The Irishman About?
The Irishman is a crime drama based on the true story of hitman Frank Sheeran and his involvement with the Bufalino crime family.
The movie spans several decades, from the 1950s to the 2000s, and shows the events that led to the disappearance of union leader Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino).
We meet Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) as he sits alone in a wheelchair in a retirement home in the early 2000s. He reflects on his life as a “house painter,” which is code for a hit-man.
The story then moves back to the 1950s, when Frank is a World War II veteran living in Philadelphia, working as a truck driver for a meat-packing company. After meeting Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) through work, Frank becomes involved with local gangsters and eventually becomes a hit-man for Russell.
The Irishman covers Frank's involvement with Russell's gang and his becoming Jimmy Hoffa's (Al Pacino) bodyguard.
Jimmy is the leader of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the largest labour union in the United States, and is in league with Russell and his gang. However, Jimmy has issues with Teamsters Vice President Tony Pro (Stephen Graham), and this eventually leads to Jimmy's arrest for jury tampering.
Having served time, he then gets a presidential pardon before his disappearance in 1975. So what part did Frank Sheeran really play in that mystery?
Nobody knows for sure, but according to the original source material, despite his loyalty, Sheeran becomes a haunted man in his later years due to his past actions and experiences. All of this is explored in The Irishman.
The Irishman Official Trailer
Is The Irishman Worth Watching?
The movie explores themes of loyalty, betrayal, and morality, as well as the cost of a life of crime.
One of the standout elements of The Irishman is its expertly crafted script, which provides a deep and nuanced look into the world of organized crime. The movie doesn't simply rely on violent action scenes to tell its story, instead opting for a slow-burn approach that emphasizes the complex relationships between the characters.
The acting performances in The Irishman are simply stunning. De Niro delivers a masterclass in subtlety, portraying Sheeran as a man who is haunted by his past decisions.
Pacino brings an electrifying energy to his portrayal of Hoffa, and Pesci is absolutely captivating in his role as the quiet but deadly Russell Bufalino. The chemistry between the actors is palpable, making their interactions onscreen all the more engaging.
Scorsese's direction is flawless, as he expertly balances the movie's multiple storylines and timelines. The score and cinematography also contribute to the film's immersive atmosphere, transporting the audience to the time period in which the story takes place.
The special effects used in the film are also worth noting. The Irishman takes us through different eras in the lives of its characters so the digital de-aging technology used on the actors is impressive but also a little distracting at times.
Overall, The Irishman is a triumph of cinema that showcases the talents of everyone involved in its creation. It's a film that will leave you feeling a range of emotions – from heartbreak to elation – and will stay with you long after the credits have rolled. Highly recommended.
How Long Is The Irishman Movie?
At just under 3 and a half hours, The Irishman is certainly a long movie, but it never feels slow or tedious.
The pacing is deliberate and purposeful, allowing the audience to fully immerse themselves in the world of the film.
What Book Was The Irishman Based On?
The Irishman is based on the book I Heard You Paint Houses by writer Charles Brandt.
The book is based on real life Sheeran's confessions on his deathbed, who claims responsibility for the disappearance of union leader Jimmy Hoffa in 1975.
The title of the book refers to Sheeran's claims that organized crime bosses would often say “I heard you paint houses” as code to hire a contract killer.
The book also explores Sheeran's involvement with the Bufalino crime family over several decades and how his actions eventually led to Hoffa's disappearance.
Where Was The Irishman Filmed?
The Irishman was filmed primarily in New York City, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
Locations included the Queensboro Bridge and a church in Long Island City, Astoria Studios in Queens, a food market in East Harlem, and various residential areas around the city.
Other locations included Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh for some of the courtroom scenes and White Plains, New York for Hoffa's disappearance scene.
Where To Watch The Irishman
If you want to watch The Irishman, there's only one place to find it, and that is NETFLIX.
Martin Scorsese's cinematic sweeping crime saga was produced by Tribeca Productions but exclusively distributed by Netflix and is considered a Netflix Original film.
The Irishman Cast And Characters
Directed by Martin Scorsese, the epic gangster drama is absolutely packed with a star-studded cast, including these lead actors…
Robert De Niro as Frank Sheeran, a truck driver who becomes a hitman for the Bufalino crime family.
Al Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa, a powerful union leader who becomes close friends with Frank Sheeran.
Joe Pesci as Russell Bufalino, the head of the Bufalino crime family who becomes a mentor to Frank Sheeran.
Ray Romano as Bill Bufalino, Russell's cousin and lawyer.
Harvey Keitel as Angelo Bruno, the boss of the Philadelphia crime family.
Bobby Cannavale (The Watcher) as Felix “Skinny Razor” DiTullio, a local gangster who befriends Frank Sheeran.
Anna Paquin as Peggy Sheeran, Frank's daughter who becomes estranged from him due to his violent behavior.
Stephen Graham as Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano, a rival union leader who clashes with Jimmy Hoffa.
Jesse Plemons (Game Night) as Chuckie O'Brien, a close friend of Jimmy Hoffa who becomes his driver.
Jack Huston as Robert F. Kennedy, the former Attorney General who goes after Jimmy Hoffa.
Domenick Lombardozzi as Anthony Salerno, a high-ranking member of the Genovese crime family.
Sebastian Maniscalco as Joseph “Crazy Joe” Gallo, a hotheaded mobster who becomes a liability to the Bufalino crime family.
These are some of the main cast and characters in The Irishman, but there are many more notable actors and characters in the film.