To get the main questions out of the way, yes, the film gives Netflix a legitimate Oscar contender; no, the de-aging of key characters isn't particularly distracting; and no, the movie didn't need to be this long.In essence, Netflix has let Scorsese release his director's cut, and absorb the steep costs, in its thirst for an awards contender, when the first 45 minutes or so — before Al Pacino swoops in, devouring scenery as Jimmy Hoffa — and last half-hour easily could have been nipped and tucked without losing a whole lot.If the portions are too big, though, at least it's a gourmet meal, inviting inevitable comparisons to "Goodfellas." Here, it's De Niro's hitman Frank Sheeran — who became union boss Hoffa's right-hand man — serving as the narrator/guide through a history that encompasses the mob helping John F. Kennedy get elected, the Bay of Pigs fiasco, Hoffa's struggles with the Justice Dept. and his disappearance in 1975.Adapted by Steven Zaillian from Charles Brandt's book "I Heard You Paint Houses" (mob code for discussing a hit), "The Irishman" includes a who's who of Scorsese regulars, including a particularly splendid Joe Pesci as the gentlemanly Russell Bufalino — Frank's mob mentor — and Harvey Keitel as the boss of bosses.Prone to long, leisurely exchanges, and frequently darkly funny, Scorsese's narrative has an almost Zelig-like quality in terms of the notorious figures that passed through Frank's orbit. Pacino, meanwhile, is the explosive counterpoint to De Niro's clenched character, the real raging bull here."You never reveal how you feel," Hoffa tells Frank, failing to see the wisdom behind that strategy in his line of work."The Irishman" provides an exceptionally strong showcase for De Niro, marking the star's ninth film with Scorsese, going back to "Mean Streets" in 1973. If it doesn't rank near the top of that list, placing somewhere in the middle still leaves it in good company.That's not to say "The Irishman" is without flaws, beyond the indulgent tonnage of it. The female characters, notably, barely register, with Anna Paquin underused in what could have been a key role as Frank's daughter, once grown, having watched her father's behavior in her younger years with thinly concealed dread.The chronRead More – Source
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