ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Irishman Movie - Through

Updated on December 9, 2019

A mobster movie doesn't open in a nursing home. The camera doesn't pan on women and men too frail to turn around. The hero, or the villain, depending on how your moral compass turns or doesn't, is not withered, wearied, wheelchair-bound, who wonders: "What did I know?"

Pit this opening scene from Martin Scorsese's The Irishman against his last major mobster outing The Departed, which released 13 long years ago. Francis "Frank" Costello, played by Jack Nicholson, is ageing but straight-backed, cautious but with enough punches left to hook you and pull you inside his world: "Twenty years after an Irishman couldn't get a job, we had the presidency. That's what the niggers don't realise. If I got one thing against the black chaps it's this. No one gives it to you. You have to take it."

13 years is a long time. Scorsese is 77 years old. His leading men in The Irishman, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and the inimitable Joe Pesci are 76, 79 and 76 respectively. The audience frowns if you call black men niggers even on screen, reviewers call you out for not giving women actors enough screen time even in a period gansta movie, and Netflix comes to your rescue when Big Studios feel uncomfortable about putting in Big Money even on a Scorsese movie with De Niro, Pacino and Pesci.

Yet Scorsese's heart bleeds for the time that was. The Irishman is his ninth collaboration with De Niro and fourth with both De Niro and Pesci. And it's his fifth film to plunge directly in the world of gangsters. And, his first time with Pacino!

With The Irishman, Scorcese takes you back to the 1950s. Truck driver Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran (De Niro) gets involved with Russell "McGee" Bufalino (Pesci) and his crime family based out of Pennsylvania. As Sheeran rises up the ranks to become a topdog hit man, he comes in the good books of Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino) -- a powerful truck drivers' union bossman who is tied to organised crime. It is what happens between these hard men as they smoke and drink and dream and kill with abandon that The Irishman is about.

This is an amoral space, where the mobster doesn't need a back story, any justification for a life lived a certain way ("As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster. To me, being a gangster was better than being President of the United States," dialogue from Scorsese's Goodfellas). This space has ceased to exist.

No one is more aware of this than Scorsese himself. The disapproval of her father's ways by Sheeran's daughter is the disapproval of the New Audience, fed on a junk diet of superhero movies and teen romance on smart phones, for Big Movies in big theatres. Hence the hesitation of Big Studios to produce The Irishman. This may well be Scorsese's last outing with the fine gents whose acting chops he discovered and nourished.

Be that as it may, this is a classic Scorsese movie with De Niro, Pacino and Pesci (who came out of retirement for The Irishman), in top form. Critics have long debated who is better among the two, and though author-backed, I am going to stick my neck out and put De Niro above Pacino in this one. But for all the eye-ball grabbing real-life newspaper headlines from which The Irishman has liberally borrowed, it is also the smaller roles, also based on real people, that make this film so layered. The character of Joe Gallo, for instance, who was one of New York's most reputed mobsters, brilliantly played in the movie by Sebastian Maniscalco.

If you are a Scorsese fan, you have already watched the movie more than once. But should you waste 209 minutes of your time if you are not? Twitter has called the film boring. Well, I still think you should, only if to know how yesterday was when The Beatles sang and the barman poured your drink freely and the man in the next bar stool said: "I don't know how he did it, and I ain't going to ask... I should've been down for the count. Instead, we went out celebrating, and I met what was going to turn out to be the rest of my life..."


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)