Movie Review: The Irishman


From Dictionary.com: The theory of Karma can be thought to be an extension to Newton’s third law of action and reaction where every action of any kind including words, thoughts feelings, the totality of our existence, will eventually have a reaction, same type of energy coming back to the one that caused it.

The one main theme to come from all great movies about the Mafia and people who indiscriminately commit crimes of stealing, arson, money laundering, assault and murder is that one day, they themselves will pay for their crimes, with either a very long prison term, or murdered themselves. This is the very definition of Karma. We all want to believe that what goes around, comes around, and for the men in the Mafia that seems to be the way of things for all who choose that way of life. A life of easy money from drugs and crime as a member of the Mafia comes with a lifetime of looking over your shoulder, because your day of reckoning is always coming.

The new movie from director Martin Scorsese, “The Irishman”, is mostly about Frank Sheeran, played by Robert De Niro, who was a close friend and bodyguard for Jimmy Hoffa, played by Al Pacino. This outstanding film, that runs over 3 hours, has a great deal of speculation about who ultimately killed Hoffa, but also suggested that the Mafia was responsible for the Bay of Pigs, the Kennedy Assassination possibly the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was also suggested the the Mafia was responsible for getting John F. Kennedy elected in 1960 with voter fraud in the state of Illinois. Instead of receiving favors from the new President, including being able to build Casino’s in Cuba, Bobby Kennedy, the President’s brother became Attorney General, and aggressively prosecuted the Mafia criminals who got the President elected in the first place. This betrayal caused a great deal of hatred towards Kennedy with members of the Mafia and mostly Jimmy Hoffa, who tried to get even with Kennedy after he was elected. This movie is also about the corruption of the Unions led by Hoffa and the illegal no interest loans taken from the Union Pension funds to help Mafia causes.

The story of The Irishman is both violent and so engrossing, but most will not even notice that this movie runs over 3 hours. The ease that Frank Sheeran demonstrates with every one of the many murders he commits in this movie is hard to watch, but typical of people like this, who kill people like it is a trivial act. This movie will remind many of the 1990 Scorsese production of “GoodFellas” which is the equal of this film with both its extremely impressive story and violence. A director as great as Martin Scorsese, takes years to release a new film, this one written by screenwriter Steven Zaillian. It is always very impressive to realize the time it took to create the attention to detail and quality very evident in this great movie. The new face replacement technology in this film, making all of the major actors look much younger was another extremely impressive achievement.

For the second time in a year, this movie was released with a very small number of theaters, and ultimately will be released on Netflix on November 27, 2019. The last time this happened was with last years great movie Roma. Given the Irishman’s very high 159 million dollar budget, it is a risk for Netflix to finance this movie, hoping that millions will sign up for the service on 11/27 – where some will just buy the service for one month and others will stay with the service long term. This new Netflix paradigm for releasing films, may eventually replace the standard methods of releasing films in movie theaters.

The Irishman unites Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci for the first time along with many other very good actors including Ray Romano, Harvey Keitel, Anna Paquin, Steven Van Zandt and Sebastian Maniscalco. As with all Scorsese productions, this film is outstanding, and should win for best picture of the year, along with several more for acting and other categories. Robert De Niro should definitely receive an Oscar Nomination for best actor. I highly recommend The Irishman as the best picture of 2019.

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