I’ll try and keep this short — unlike this movie.
“The Irishman”, a bloated slog of a mafia movie, acts as Martin Scorsese's latest addition to his legendary directing career. Despite its egregious runtime, the film’s well-written script is masterfully performed by some of the genre’s greatest actors. “The Irishman” undoubtedly holds a place in Scorsese's pantheon of filmography.
The movie follows the mob-career of Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) as he maneuvers the potential pitfalls of life as a made man. Frank stands alongside Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) a calm and collected mob boss and hot head union boss Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino) as the trio waltz through the mob’s golden age and into it’s extinction. The movie is based on Charles Brandt’s novel “I heard You Paint Houses.”
At times, the fictional plot was so captivating it felt real. It had me googling historical events, asking “wait, is that what really happened?”
I watched “The Irishman” on Netflix, first on my phone then on a friend's television. It took me two attempts to get through the movie — not by choice, but I had other things to do. I began the second viewing not because I was desperate to know what happened, but I felt a sort of moral obligation to finish the movie. This gets at the movie’s crippling flaw.
It’s too long — really too long.
I tried to explain this to my friend Kyle. Despite our good friendship, he felt the need to wrongly accuse me of disrespecting the art. Clearly, I had no idea what I was talking about, I had no evidence for my claim and I should consider resigning.
Well Kyle, here’s my evidence. It’s three and half hours long, that’s over 12% of the entire day, including sleep. Ok, maybe Kyle has a point. Maybe I don’t have evidence. But three and half hours?
At that runtime, the movie just wasn’t digestible. It’s like eating dinner at your parents after you had dinner with friends. The second dinner might taste great, but it’s hard to finish and hard to want to do it again.
Unfortunately, I do think the movie had to be as long as it was, it’s just a long story. I read online somewhere that it should be broken up as a television show. I don’t know if that would work, but it certainly would have made it easier to handle.
At the end of the day, “The Irishman” is great. Long and great.