The Irishman review round-up: Martin Scorsese's mafia epic is a 'coldly enthralling, long-form knockout'
The Irishman premiered as the opening night film at the 57th New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center on Friday.
The Irishman is Martin Scorsese’s $125 million Netflix film about the reflections of a former Jimmy Hoffa associate and hitman. Its genre and cast — including Robert De Niro as Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, Al Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa, and Joe Pesci as Russell Bufalino — have long excited fans of the 76-year-old filmmaker.
Scorsese’s big-budget mafia epic premiered as the opening night film at the 57th New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center on Friday.
Here is what the critics said
The Guardian: "As one might expect from a director of such loving precision, The Irishman is exquisitely made, every detail carefully considered, every location perfectly picked and with such a gargantuan budget at hand, it feels utterly transporting, a film to be savoured on a big, crisp screen rather than half-watched on a smartphone."
BBC: "The Irishman is more than a trick of nostalgia. Spanning a period from the 1950s through to 2000, it offers a sharp look at how corruption in politics and business makes its way into US life. That theme enters with Al Pacino (who has not worked with Scorsese before) as Jimmy Hoffa, the mob-connected head of the most powerful labour union in the US, who becomes Frank Sheeran’s friend and colleague."
Screen Daily: "The Irishman is vintage Scorsese, with an often sinuously moving camera, occasional break-the-fourth-wall monologues, wicked wise-guy humour, and explosions of sudden tenderness and casual violence. And its final half-hour pulls something even deeper from the filmmaker – moments of reflection, twinges of regret, worries about chances thrown away. Whatever the business plan, in the end it’s all about the filmmaking – and a picture that immediately takes its place in the Scorsese canon, and a strong position in the Oscar race."
Variety: "Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman is a coldly enthralling, long-form knockout — a majestic Mob epic with ice in its veins. It’s the film that ... a lot us wanted to see from Scorsese: a stately, ominous, suck-in-your-breath summing up, not just a drama but a reckoning, a vision of the criminal underworld that’s rippling with echoes of the director’s previous Mob films, but that also takes us someplace bold and new."
IndieWire: "The Irishman is Martin Scorsese’s best crime movie since Goodfellas, and a pure, unbridled illustration of what has made his filmmaking voice so distinctive for nearly 50 years."
The Irishman is scheduled to premiere on Netflix on 27 November.
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