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Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Irishman’ is captivating, despite it’s longer runtime. (Photo provided via @NextBestPicture on Twitter)

Film Review: The unforgiving length of Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Irishman’ is what makes it so good

It is hard to find three and a half hours for a movie. The length is intimidating, especially in the current climate of short attention spans that prefer watching 60-second TikToks for a few hours than watching one single plotline. The length of Martin Scorsese’s latest movie, though, is one of the elements that makes it absolutely spectacular.

Scorsese’s The Irishman follows Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro), who’s a truck driver in the ’50s that comes up with Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci)’s Pennsylvania crime family. Sheeran becomes close to the Bufalino family, becoming Russell’s number one man after he proves he’s an efficient hitman. The Bufalinos get involved with the Teamsters Union and the crimes that Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino) is involved in. Sheeran and Hoffa became close, and Sheeran finds himself in a position where he’s both Bufalino’s right-hand man, as well as Hoffa’s.

As Hoffa loses control of Teamsters and then later regains it, his relationship with the Bufalino family is tested. Now pitted against each other, Sheeran’s loyalties are stretched as he’s put in a tough spot by the two parties. 

The story is told by Sheeran as he sits in a nursing home, recalling his life in the mob and as a hitman. Though it may seem monotonous, the film’s length is important in telling Sheeran’s story, as Scorsese gives possible answers to Hoffa’s disappearance, all while creating an enticing cinematic feat. 

While it may seem too long, it is impressive that it fits the complex but exciting story into its time frame. Perfectly paced, there never seems to be a moment in the film where it feels slow, and there is no point where it is moving too fast to understand what is going on. On the technical side, the CGI that allows De Niro, Pacino and Pesci to look younger is quite believable and advanced. 

Furthermore, The Irishman tells an important historical story. All of the names and most of the hits are historically accurate, and the movie gives an insight into the mob life. De Niro, Pacino and Pesci are all classic mobster stars, and that alone is an absolute treat for anyone watching the film. No, The Irishman isn’t having the impact on film like The Godfather does, but Scorsese’s work beckons back to the classic mob film and celebrates it. 


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