the irishman…

Went to the Watershed (for the second time in three days!) to see Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” film – featuring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci.
Before I start, I think I should warn you that the film lasts three-and-a-half hours - that’s the equivalent of watching the FA Cup Final TWICE… plus extra time!

But there were an impressive number of people at the Watershed’s first screening of the film – and perhaps, even more impressive (in my view), that I think only two people had to get up and find the loo!
As you may know, the film is a return to Scorsese’s ‘gangster genre’. The film’s background is the unsolved murder of Jimmy Hoffa (played brilliantly by Pacino), the labour leader and infamous head of the powerful Teamsters Union, whose connections with organised crime were wide-ranging. His career ended with a conviction for jury tampering, attempted bribery and fraud (they failed to ‘pin’ any murder charges on him). Although he was pardoned by President Nixon (who he just happened to support financially) in 1971, he ‘disappeared’ soon after… and was declared legally dead in 1982.

As one might expect, there are several theories about Hoffa’s death, but perhaps the most convincing version is the one told by Frank ‘The Irishman’ Sheeran (again, brilliantly played by De Niro) in an account he revealed to a journalist… and this forms the basis of the film… and is presented through Sheeran’s memories of his own criminal past.
The story covers four decades and the ‘stars’ all play their characters at each stage of their lives. To do this (and I can assure you, it was done incredibly convincingly!), the film uses astonishing post-production, state-of-the-art visual effects to ‘de-age’ the cast from their 70s through to their 30s (the Watershed’s programme notes refer to it as ‘youthification’!)(I’m looking for a cheap alternative at our local “Boot’s”!).
It’s brilliantly filmed (and acted – Joe Pesci makes a very convincing Russell Bufalino – ruler of the infamous Bufalino crime family from 1959 to 1989)… and there are wonderful sets, cars and a perfect soundtrack featuring music to suit the period (including Fats Domino, Johnny Ray, Smiley Lewis, The Five Satins and Glenn Miller).
As ridiculous as this might seem, the three-and-a-half-hours just flew by… I found myself completely sucked into the compelling storyline… threat, power, guilt, remorse and the trappings of success.
It’s a brilliant film… you should definitely try to see it.

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