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  • Writer's pictureJack Aling

The Irishman - Review (London Film Festival 2019)

This is Your Life. 4.5 / 5

Directed by Martin Scorsese. Pennsylvania, 1956. Frank Sheeran, a war veteran of Irish origin who works as a truck driver, accidentally meets mobster Russell Bufalino. Once Frank becomes his trusted man, Bufalino sends him to Chicago with the task of helping Jimmy Hoffa, a powerful union leader related to organized crime, with whom Frank will maintain a close friendship for nearly twenty years.

Scorsese shows why he's still the master as he brings out the big guns for The Irishman.

Starring a legendary cast with some of the biggest names of the genre, everyone is on their A-Game making for a powerful story of growth, loyalty, and corruption that immediately pulls you in with its breathtaking scale.

Clocking in at just over 200 minutes, Scorsese really wants you to live in his world as we look back at the life of a gangster from humble beginnings all the way until the retirement home. It's a long film, but there's a lot of story to tell. With Netflix as the film's home, it unsurprisingly feels like binge-watching an entire series at once - focusing on different stages of Frank Sheeran's life and what made him the man who is telling the story. And you can tell that Scorsese had free reign to tell the story he wanted to tell with no restrictions.

The most intriguing being the de-aging of the characters. From digitally de-aging to practical old-age makeup, it takes a little while to get used to it but once you adjust it really adds a whole other layer to the believability of the story and is a really risky but impressive technique that paid off.

De Niro shows he's still got range, Pacino is as passionate as ever in what I think is one of his best performances and the return of Pesci feels so special as he shows why he's still and will always be the boss.

Having the personality and impact of great gangster films of the past, it’s a brilliant homage, and look back at the genre that made names of so many involved. Find your way to a cinema screening of this, it deserves your full attention and the best experience that at home on Netflix just can't provide.

What a magnificent way to close out the 2019 London Film Festival.

It feels like a farewell to the genre, and if that's how it plays out, I could not think of a stronger way to close it.

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