Martin Scorsese’s filmography includes everything from biopics to psychological thrillers to dark comedies, but the director is arguably best-known for his gangster epics. After releasing his last gangster film, The Departed, 13 years ago, Scorsese’s newest addition to the genre, The Irishman, is set to arrive in select theatres next month.
The Irishman premiered at the New York Film Festival last month. After receiving rave reviews, many now consider the film to be a frontrunner for multiple Oscars, including Best Picture. The film’s trailer features an all-star cast, including Oscar winners Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci.
De Niro and Pesci previously collaborated in Scorsese’s acclaimed mob films Goodfellas and Casino. And although Pacino has never worked with Scorsese, he’s no stranger to gangster films — his most iconic role being Michael Corleone in The Godfather trilogy.
With the combined talents of Scorsese, De Niro, Pesci and Pacino, The Irishman has everything it needs to be one of 2019’s best films.
The film follows Frank Sheeran (De Niro), a truck driver who becomes involved with the Bufalino crime family and the disappearance of labour union leader Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino). Pesci plays mobster Russell Bufalino. The trailer suggests that the tone of the film will be more subdued than that of Scorsese’s previous gangster films, but it doesn’t reveal much more than that.
Scorsese’s newest film will also be his longest to date. With a runtime of three and a half hours, it’s a half hour longer than The Wolf of Wall Street, the director’s second-longest film. But the film’s runtime is not necessarily a bad thing — if Wolf taught us anything, it’s that Scorsese can make a three-hour film fly by.
While select theatres will screen The Irishman, it will be a Netflix-exclusive film for most viewers. If the film lives up to the praise it received at the New York Film Festival, this is a big deal for Netflix. The release of a big-budget crime drama from one of the most respected directors of all time as a virtually streaming-exclusive film is great news for both Netflix and streaming platforms in general.
Even viewers who are skeptical of streaming-exclusive films won’t be able to deny the prestige of The Irishman. And if the film receives a Best Picture nomination, it will become one of Netflix’s first original films do so (Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma was nominated last year).
Receiving multiple Best Picture nominations would likely elevate the status of Netflix original films in the eyes of skeptics. In other words, The Irishman may turn out to be one of the best things to happen to the streaming industry.
Next month, we’ll get to see a director whose filmmaking career spans over half a century return to the genre that many moviegoers consider to be his best. The film’s veteran gangster film stars and subject matter suggest that The Irishman may end up being a collection of Scorsese’s greatest directorial hits. And for viewers who love mob movies, Scorsese, or quality films in general, that’s a wonderful thing.
Regardless of whether it receives any Oscar nominations, The Irishman looks like it will be one of the most exciting films of the year both for Netflix and its audience.
Image: che via Wikipedia