The Irishman

Hey everybody, Martin Scorsese’s long awaited film, The Irishman, has finally been released on Netflix as of November 27th. Based off Charles Brandt’s true crime novel, “I Heard You Paint Houses”, this 3.5 hour biopic far exceeded any expectations I had before watching it. I would recommend watching Scorsese’s “Goodfellas” beforehand but I wouldn’t say its absolutely necessary in following “The Irishman”s storyline.

The film focuses in on Frank Sheeran (aka the “irishman”) who was very closely involved with the Teamsters union president, Jimmy Hoffa. The film starts out in the mid 19th century, showing Sheeran’s rise from delivering meat to become closely involved with the mob. One thing that I found particularly exciting was the local ties to our area (Pittston). However, I mainly wanted to focus on the CGI elements of the movie. By the time filming started, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino were a lot older than the characters were supposed to look, thus, Scorsese resorted to CGI to “youthify” the actors.

The Independent wrote in an online article that “discussing if the emergence of streaming platforms will lead to a re-evaluation of what cinema is, the Oscar-winning filmmaker said: ‘I think we are redefining it now in such a way. It’s not just an evolving of cinema, it’s a revolution, an even bigger revolution than sound brought to cinema, it’s the revolution of cinema itself. The new technology is bringing things that are unimaginable and not only is it something extraordinarily good for narrative films, but it opens up the original conception of what a film is and how it is to be seen has now changed so radically'” (https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/martin-scorsese-the-irishman-cgi-make-up-robert-de-niro-al-pacino-a9154271.html).

the de-aging of Robert De Niro’s character, Frank Sheeran (courtesy of indiewire.com)

The whole premise of Brandt’s “I Heard You Paint Houses” was Brandt becoming close with Sheeran and interviewing him to learn about his life and his role as a hitman for Hoffa. “The Irishman” begins with a very aged De Niro sitting in a wheelchair and talking about his life and throughout the long film, the magic of CGI made flashbacks to a younger Frank Sheeran possible. The length of this biopic might scare people, but it’s well worth the watch of Scorsese’s revolutionary filmmaking. I hope everyone has a great week!

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