Written by Joseph Holgate, who you can follow on Twitter at @joerodholgate

Welcome back to Fresh Perspective, where I’ll be reviewing films I’ve never seen before! This week, we’ll conclude the Martin Scorsese hattrick with the recently-released epic crime film, The Irishman, starring (perhaps obviously), Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci.

The Irishman follows Frank Sheeran (De Niro), a delivery truck driver from Philadelphia, who becomes a hitman for the Bufalino crime family. Through his close friendship to Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci), head of the Bufalino crime syndicate, Frank is eventually hired by Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino), the figurehead of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (a labour union), to be his bodyguard. Inevitably, Frank, Jimmy and their respective families become increasingly close, with Jimmy striking a close bond to one of Frank’s daughters, Peggy.

Heavy pressure from popular fellow Teamster Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano and the federal government results in Hoffa’s arrest in 1964 after Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy forms a “Get Hoffa” squad to convict him of financial crimes that are linked to the Bufalino family. However, he is only convicted of jury tampering.

After his release from prison, Jimmy’s erratic and uncontrollable behaviour angers Russell and his bosses, leaving Frank with the order to execute Hoffa in 1975. During Hoffa’s disappearance investigation, members of the Bufalino crime family, including Frank, are systematically convicted of various charges.

As the film begins to close, Frank is placed into a nursing home, where it is revealed that he is one of the last surviving gangsters. The credits roll after a Catholic Priest gives Sheeran absolution for his crimes.

Photo Credit: Netflix
Photo Credit: Netflix

First impressions

With over 246 award nominations and a total of 65 wins (at the time of writing), it’s astonishing to see how fast this Martin Scorsese’s epic soared to success. The Irishman, without a doubt, is easily one of the greatest films of all time. Based on the novel I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt, Scorsese delivered, yet again, another perfect crime story.

You’d think the constant mixture of the same three actors would bore most audiences, but definitely not with the tremendous acting ability of Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci. It hurts to see them age, but like a fine wine they never falter, and they always deliver. You know they deserve an award before you’ve seen the film. They consistently and fantastically perform the same gangster tropes that generate our awe and inspiration.

Final thoughts


It’s hard to put a finger on what films are my favourite films of all time. With 2019 giving me plenty to think about with films such as Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Joker, The Irishman certainly deserves top spot. The three-hour duration is rewarded by pure cinematic and storytelling genius. The use of de-aging techniques and interconnected flashforwards and flashbacks amplify Martin Scorsese’s exemplary ability to keep us glued to our screens. He really can tell a story anyway he wants.

Join me next time as I watch Christopher Nolan’s epic science fiction film, Interstellar.

See ya!

You can watch The Irishman now exclusively on Netflix.

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