When it comes to crime epics, there isn't a more go-to director around than Martin Scorsese, his filmography speaking for itself, with the likes of Goodfellas, Casino and The Departed only a few of the classics of the genre he has made spanning a career of over fifty-years. The Irishman doesn't just boast a masterful filmmaker at its helm but a deliriously impressive cast full of frequent Scorsese collaborators such as, Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, Joe Pesci and, surprisingly working with Scorsese for the first time, Al Pacino, in its arsenal. 

The Irishman chronicles the life of Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran (Robert De Niro), a truck driver turned hitman who had ties with the Bufalino family and the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino).
Make no mistake, the scale of The Irishman is just about as epic as you can get, Scorsese's film spanning a number of decades and the filmmaker masterfully delivering a surprisingly meditative reflection of both a hitman's life of crime and his own career. Moments feel like they could come straight out of Goodfellas or Casino yet The Irishman is an entirely different beast altogether, slow and calculated in its execution but so engrossing and hard-hitting when it needs to be.

Steven Zallian's screenplay combined with Scorsese's masterful direction ensures The Irishman doesn't overstay its welcome at 209 minutes. Sure, you could say there are scenes that could be cut entirely or shortened however, it's an absolute pleasure to watch this film play out from start to finish, Rodrigo Prieto's cinematography and the legendary Thelma Schoonmaker's editing only adding further quality to proceedings.

The method of de-aging has been used a number of times before, most notably within the MCU however, it has never been used to this extent, the majority of this film spent with these actors in their younger years. It honestly did take a while for me to get used to it but it soon becomes seamless and makes the possibility of these actors working together throughout the ages a truly captivating cinematic reality.

Coming to the performances, The Irishman features a mightily impressive cast littered with strong performers but it's the main trio of Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci that really are a force to be reckoned with. De Niro is the best he's been in years as Frank Sheeran, his charismatic yet nuanced performance giving the film such a powerful driving force in the lead role. Pacino steals the show as Jimmy Hoffa in what is also his best performance in years, making his first time working with Scorsese an even more special occasion. It's Pesci, brought out of retirement especially for The Irishman, who really caught my eye with a incredibly cold and quietly unsettling performance as Russell Bufalino, a polar opposite to his performance in Goodfellas. Harvey Keitel and Stephen Graham throw their acting weight about accordingly while Anna Paquin does a lot with very few words, a true testament to a performance.

The Irishman hits Netflix soon but I'm so glad I got the chance to watch this masterpiece on the big screen. For that, I'd like to say thanks to the Prince Charles Cinema and, more importantly, Martin Scorsese.

Verdict: ★★★★★


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