The Irishman – Film Review – Glenn Barr – Duggystone Radio

Written by on December 3, 2019

The Irishman

by Glenn Barr


The Irishman follows hit man Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) as he looks back on a life of crime. Indeed, the movie is like a dream come true for fans of Goodfellas as it brings the band back together for one last gig, so to speak. The band in question is (of course) Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci (as Russell Bufalino). However, this time around, Al Pacino joins the band – under the watchful eye of acclaimed director Martin Scorsese – and is an absolute delight as the infamous Jimmy Hoffa.

Let’s get the obvious comparisons out of the way nice and early. This movie is most definitely similar to Goodfellas and Casino, due to the fact that all three were directed by Scorsese, but is this latest gangster epic as good? To say it was a blast is an understatement and the scene about multiple guys named Tony truly is comedy gold! In a similar vein, for some reason it feels okay to watch Robert De Niro kick the hell out of a local shopkeeper, and it’s equally okay for him to stamp on hands and walk away smiling… mostly because Joe Pesci says it’s okay. They almost exist in their own little unsafe crime bubble and we witness the accomplished trio (De Niro, Pesci and Pacino) tell an exhilarating tale about fast talking wise guys growing old in front of our very eyes.


In this instance, special de-aging computer generated imagery enhance flashback scenes featuring younger versions of De Niro, Pesci and Pacino. The effects are distracting at times, but this is diluted considerably by the genius move of giving De Niro blue eyes (possibly hinting at the Irish heritage of his character). One cannot quite figure out why he looks so different and then it sinks in… those eyes… and the audience soon forget about computer wizardry and follow the story, just as they should. This impressive technique was financed by Netflix, therefore the movie is available to stream and that’s a good thing, considering the bottom-punishing three and a half hour run time! Upon reflection, there is a genuine documentary feel to the narrative and perhaps that would not be as effective, had the final cut been edited for time considerations.



Without spoiling too much, some of the close-range murder sequences (head shots) are quite disturbing but oddly exciting at the same time. Furthermore, colourful gangster slang lends a palpable sense of menace, especially as similar terminology was uttered by the real life Sheeran, Bufalino and Hoffa. Indeed, the phrase: I heard you paint houses, translates as I heard you kill people, the house painting in question denoting bloody heads spraying across walls! Another glorious phrase offers: I do carpentry too, meaning I get rid of the body as part of the deal. Let’s not forget that the darkly amusing: going to Australia expression equals being buried deep underground! Fascinating and terrifying in equal measures. Here lies undeniable proof that a script can be blatant, yet still pack a powerful punch. Make no mistake, The Irishman truly is thought provoking, brutal and uncomfortably beautiful.



9.5/10 – A fantastic tale about oldfellas. Half a point removed due to the gruelling run time!


Once again a brilliant review, some of the team at duggystone radio keeping this one as one to watch at Christmas. (cant beat some violence at Christmas)

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Another classic film to watch if in the mob mood is “Goodfellas”, grab both to fill a few hours!


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