‘Admit it, The Irishman is terrible’

Tuesday - 03/12/2019 20:51
Robert De Niro in The Irishman. Picture: Netflix.Source:News Regional Media
Robert De Niro in The Irishman. Picture: Netflix.Source:News Regional Media
OPINION: The Martin Scorsese-directed Netflix film is boring, ill-acted, poorly written and amateurishly directed.

There are two kinds of people in this world: First, those who think The Irishman – the Martin Scorsese-directed, Al Pacino/Robert De Niro/Joe Pesci-starring, mega-mob opera released last week on Netflix – is the finest piece of cinema produced this century or maybe of all time.

And then there are people like me: Those who think the movie – weighing in at an obscene 209 minutes, every one of them boring, ill-acted, poorly written and amateurishly directed, with CGI effects so demented, big-mouth De Niro, who is 76, looks 90 rather than the intended blue-eyed 35 – is a turkey.
 




Rarely has a film been so polarising, drawing a crowd that loves it to pieces and alienating a vast swath of viewers turned off by the joyless slog through the bowels of moviemaking.

I can tell that this flick, now available in homes to a vast audience through the magic of the internet, is of questionable quality because friends who defend it to the hilt are prone to suggesting that its many detractors – folks who’d rather stick pins in their eyeballs than submit to a second helping of this cinematic Hindenburg – are not too smart.

One guy friend even contended that it was a “male movie”, implying that we chicks, many of whom enjoyed the cheerful blood and guts of Goodfellas and The Godfather (Parts I and II), are biologically incapable of warming to a biopic about a dull sociopath, the Mafia hitman Frank Sheeran (played by a somnolent De Niro).

Jesse Plemons, Ray Romano, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in The Irishman. Picture: Netflix
Jesse Plemons, Ray Romano, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in The Irishman. Picture: NetflixSource:News Regional Media

 

Never mind that the real-life Sheeran, who in death can no longer argue his case, appears to have invented the story told in the movie, based on a book written by his lawyer, that he was just following orders when, he claims, he murdered one of his best friends, ex-union boss Jimmy Hoffa (played by an egregiously scenery-chewing Pacino).

Also recounted in the film, without a lick of scepticism, is the claim that John F. Kennedy rode a wave of mob vote-rigging to the presidency, then was ordered assassinated by the very same gangsters.

Reviews have been almost universally slavish, but this headline posted to Screenrant.com seems to deliver a tacit, protest-too-much warning that the film is a bust: “No, The Irishman Isn’t Boring”.

Since the writer brought it up, let me tell you: It is.

Joe Pesci (left) and Robert De Niro in The Irishman. Picture: Niko Tavernise/Netflix
Joe Pesci (left) and Robert De Niro in The Irishman. Picture: Niko Tavernise/NetflixSource:AP

 

Almost apologetically, blogger Joshua Meyer posted to the website SlashFilm a piece titled The Unpopular Opinion: Okay, Let’s Hear from Someone Who Doesn’t Like ‘The Irishman’.

He wrote that “critics are being soft on this movie because it’s Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro, and no one wants to look bad giving their swan song (to gangland movies) a negative review when the wind is clearly blowing the other way”.

The cast’s three leads also include Pesci, whose quiet interpretation of mob boss Russell Bufalino earned him kudos for abandoning the frenetic schtick he applied in movies such as Goodfellas. It’s as if playing it safely is a virtue. Plus, his scenes with the young girl who played Sheeran’s eldest daughter – “want some candy?” – were uncomfortably creepy.

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