The Irishman Early Reactions Hail Another Scorsese Masterpiece

Old Robert De Niro in The Irishman

Early reactions are in for Martin Scorsese's The Irishman, and they're pretty much universally enthusiastic so far. The film is an ambitious one, even by Scorsese's standards, and chronicles the life of real-world hitman Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran (Robert De Niro) as he goes from fighting during WWII to serving the Bufalino crime family and the famous labor leader Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino), prior to his mysterious disappearance.

In order to do that, while allowing De Niro to play Sheeran throughout his life, Scorsese used CG de-aging techniques on his cast (which includes De Niro's Raging BullGoodfellas, and Casino costar, Joe Pesci) that resulted in The Irishman's budget ballooning to upwards of $159 million. Because of its hefty price tag, the project had a hard time securing a distributor for several years, before eventually finding its way to Netflix in 2017. Now, two years later, The Irishman is all finished and hitting the festival circuit ahead of its theatrical and streaming release in November.

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The first reactions to The Irishman are now online, following its premiere at the New York Film Festival. You can check out some of the spoiler-free responses below.

Interestingly, these Irishman reactions are the opposite of the social media responses to Ang Lee's own upcoming de-aging experiment, Gemini Man. Whereas the initial tweets about that film emphasized its technical elements without saying much about its story and performances, most of The Irishman reactions focus on the acting by screen legends De Niro, Pacino, and Pesci, along with the adapted script from Oscar-winner Steve Zaillian (Schindler's List, Gangs of New York). The actual Gemini Man reviews have since painted a far more negative portrait of the film, describing it as an exercise in style over substance. By comparison, it sounds like the occasionally-wonky CG de-aging in The Irishman serves an otherwise fascinating, contemplative, and reflective narrative.

It's certainly good to hear that (so far) people think The Irishman turned out really well, considering how much could've easily gone wrong with the whole thing (between its difficult visual effects and the nearly three and a half hour runtime). Netflix will no doubt be pleased about this news too, in light of what they've already invested into making Scorsese's passion project a reality. The Irishman further gives the streamer its third serious contender in this year's awards season race, to go along with upcoming releases like Dolemite Is My Name and Marriage Story (both of which are generating similarly strong buzz following their festival showings).

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Source: Various [see the above links]

Key Release Dates
  • The Irishman (2019) release date: Nov 27, 2019
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