There are great storytellers that have been able to move through generations, seemingly without missing a beat, and in the visual medium, Martin Scorsese has been one of those storytellers who has been able to captivate and navigate through a world where I really wouldn’t have been exposed to myself. For 1, I’m not Italian, so that would obviously play a role. From Taxi Driver, to Raging Bull, to Goodfellas, Casino, The Departed, and so on and so forth, I’ve been a fan of his movies, even if the storylines haven’t reflected my own experiences. They’re movies, and they’re supposed to invoke the imagination of others, brought together in a format that is meant to entertain, and he has successfully done that.
Given that the landscape of film has changed throughout the years, Scorsese and a trove of other ‘Golden Age’ filmmakers have spoken out against how film has transitioned, and what’s been lost in the art from a storytelling standpoint. Attention spans change, budgets change, and the stories we care about change. For the past 10 years, it’s been Marvel dominated, and there’s nothing wrong with that (depending on whom you ask), and the traditional ‘art’ of film has been pushed to the side by way of straight-to-streaming, or limited releases. Everything evolves, and it’s how you adapt that’ll determine whether or not you stay around or fizzle out; or naturally your time just may come to an end because you’ve had a good run. Whatever the case may be, it’s been the flow of life from the beginning, and that’s how it shall remain until life is no longer.
The life of Frank Sheeran within the life of the Mob is where we find ourselves in The Irishman, which serves as a (perhaps) final hurrah for Scorsese’s mob genre films, as it dives into a familiar world that Scorsese had allowed fans to get comfortable in. From the decades of Mob movies that Pacino, De Niro, and Pesci had found themselves playing iconic roles in, to have them in a film that tells a story of its magnitude, that for decades was left untold, is a big moment in film, and it’s symbolic of their respective careers. What I appreciated about this movie was the constant callbacks to Scorsese’s older films, which may point to the question of if it’s the end of films for Scorsese, or just the end of one particular kind?
For a 3 hour and 30 minute limited theatrical release and subsequent release on Netflix, this is quite the ambitious project that I didn’t anticipate having to dissect so thoroughly. It definitely moved at a slow pace, but it was calculated and the finer details mattered because of the significance of Frank’s life and the role he played in others, including Pacino’s performance of Jimmy Hoffa. Every element known for Scorsese’s film was apparent and out in the open, but from a storytelling standpoint, this film served as more in-depth and vulnerable from a character standpoint. You see Frank in desperation, admiration of others, but you see the demise of his family, and really himself from within. If you have the patience and level of care for a Scorsese film (because I know they’re not for everybody), certainly allot some time for yourself to watch this film, because there is a very strong appreciation for what Scorsese has contributed to Film, and the acting performances by all, amplify the overall product, while unpacking larger issues that heavily shaped American politics in the 60s – I found that intriguing.
Regardless of where Scorsese goes from here, and if this film is supposed to mirror his film career in terms of where he’s started and where he’s ending, it’s been an amazing ride, with enough influence to leave the door open for future greats to walk in his path. But for now, this is my opinion, this is my review
That’s My Word & It STiXX