2019 still has three plus weeks left, but the Best of 2019 awards are starting to filter in and the Best Film of 2019 is being awarded by The New York Film Critics Circle to ….
The Irishman ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
They have some other curious picks like Best Actor — no to Joaquin Phoenix — to Antonio Banderas in Pain and Glory (haven’t seen yet), Best Screenplay to Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon a Time .. in Hollywood ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Best Actress to Lupita Nyong — not Renee Zellweger — in Jordan Peele’s Us (haven’t seen yet) and Best Director to the Safdie brothers for Uncut Gems (not released yet). No awards to 1919, Knives Out ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ or Jojo Rabbit⭐️⭐️⭐️½
So, booting up another post to share more on this $159 million Netflix Original movie, The Irishman. Haven’t seen it yet and have Netflix? Where have you been? Get to it, already. You’re missing an award winning gem!
Maybe in my critique, I spent more time talking about the negatives than the positives. Let me say this again: the third act of this film is my favorite of anything else I’ve watched in 2019. That’s why this movie is #3 on my best of 2019 list right now. I put two other films ahead of it, because both moved me in different ways and were better overall stories told than this one (all three acts).
Yes, it’s 3 1/2 hours and that runtime is daunting, but the beauty is you can watch it in parts. Watch the first hour, then the second hour, and finish with the final act. Or watch up until Al Pacino enters the picture as Jimmy Hoffa, and then watch the rest in one sitting. Neal Brennan on Twitter has divided The Irishman into a four part miniseries, if you want it even chunked up further:
Seems crazy to me that we have four episodes of The Mandalorian and those four episodes combined + the upcoming fifth episode this Friday are not as long as The Irishman, but hey, it is what it is. Martin Scorsese made the film at the length he wanted to make it and not even an editor that has worked with him on other films could edit this down any shorter.
One of my only other criticisms about the film is that I wished there had been more family scenes in the first two acts, setting up that amazing third act punch and power. De Niro acknowledges that there could have been more parts for Anna Paquin and him: “She was very powerful and that’s what it was,” De Niro tells USA TODAY. “Maybe in other scenes there could’ve been some interaction between Frank and her possibly, but that’s how it was done. She’s terrific and it resonates.”
Anyway, it’s good to see a Netflix Original movie winning Best Picture. I’ll admit being a bit bummed out seeing these Best Of lists before 2019 has finished, but I guess editors want to get a jump on January 2020 for their Google SEO.
Let’s see what more of the moviegoer audience are saying …
Reviews by Others
As warned with almost all reviews, there could be SPOILERS … so proceed carefully from here on out …
- alexwrightmovieman: “Through Scorcese’s masterful filmmaking, it’s safe to say that he has immortalized the long forgotten Jimmy, along with such characters as Howard Hughes, Travis Bickle, and Jake LaMotta.”
- Ashby Reel: “…hits all the right notes and has restored my faith in Martin Scorsese as a director. It has many of the classic elements of Scorsese’s previous gangster works. The ensemble cast, the catchy soundtrack, the startling violence and the in depth character study. This is all tied beautifully together by stylish cinematography and slick editing.”
- Dylan Hanson: “…a great story with great actors and in my opinion is one of the greatest films of all time. It stands with other mafia classics such as The Godfather and Goodfellas and was a perfect “farewell tour” for mafia movie legends Scorsese, De Niro, Pacino and Pesci.”
- filmsbyqfu: “…takes story of the little known Frank Sheeran and brings to life one of twentieth centuries greatest crime riddles, what happened to Hoffa? Offering a credible answer. If in the unlikely event that Scorsese was to retire after this film, it would be a fitting film to bow out on. Masterful.”
- James Palmer Film / Flipscreen: “It may have been labelled as another Scorsese gangster flick, but this is by far his most personal film yet. The last hour of this film is some of the best work in Scorsese’s already immaculate career.”
- Lee Butler / Movie Meister Reviews (4/5): “…a hard film to sit through in one go, but it’s worth the attempt. It’s Scorsese getting to have one more crack at the mafia movie now that he’s older and wiser and it’s certainly different enough that it earns considerable respect. I don’t think it’s his best work”
- Motionswee7 (Grade: A): “The production design, cinematography, music, crowd control is all top notch. A CGI background here and there looks fake, but these are minor gripes.”
- New York Post / Andrea Peyser: Go ahead and admit it — ‘The Irishman’ is terrible
- Pete / Clear Blue Eye (2.5/5): “Overall, a detailed look at Frank Sheeran’s life (the eponymous Irishman) is not a bad idea. There is lots to tell, particularly as related to Hoffa. But, Scorsese didn’t know when to stop. Either have some self-discipline and bring the story down to 2-hours, or else make it a series. As it stood, I spent the time reading emails and searching the web. Definitely not what I expected from a cast and crew of this caliber.”
- Reel Movie Critic: “It is a slow burn for a three and a half hour movie. With all that said, we need to appreciate a movie where we will see Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, and Martin Scorsese at the helm. This may be the last time we will see all these guys together making a mob film that is interesting, thrilling, and good.”
- The Film Authority: “…often looks like cut-scenes for a video-game, with mottled skin-tones and slick hairstyles that distract from what the characters say. There would be no place for an expensive dud The Irishman at the cinemas; even on streaming, it’s likely to vanish quickly as a bizarre footnote to Scorsese’s career.”
- The Reviewing Network: “…still a really enjoyable well made movie with brilliant acting, a good story to tell, great direction and cinematography as well as nice visuals, the editing and run time really does drag the movie down a lot unfortunately.”
- Wall Street Widow: “The Irishman is not necessarily high cuisine. For me it was more like a pretentious microwave dinner, like Healthy Choice’s Beef Merlot, containing reheated mafia tropes that miss the flavors and nutrients of earlier classics.” (ed. Of the many reviews I’ve read, this is one of my most favorites — comparing MCU to The Irishman — extremely well done!)
- Zach Vecker: “The runtime is a big factor that certainly handicaps the film’s re-watchability, as well as the more serious and thought provoking aspects. But I am completely comfortable admitting that I could be misreading audiences. It is unfair to compare it to films that have had decades to build up a legacy and following, so only time will tell if this will achieve the same impact.”
Have you seen The Irishman yet? What were your thoughts?