Nov 102020

The Irishman was a little disappointing if only for the amount of praise the film received from both the professional and regular everyday movie-watchers, however it was great to see three veteran actors together.



The Irishman
– The Criterion Collection –

Genre(s): Drama, Crime
The Criterion Collection | R – 209 min. – $39.95 | November 24, 2020

Date Published: 11/10/2020 | Author: The Movieman

Director: Martin Scorsese
Writer(s): Charles Brandt (book); Steven Zaillian (screenplay)
Cast: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel, Ray Romano, Bobby Cannavale, Anna Paquin, Stephen Graham, Stephanie Kurtzuba, Jack Huston, Jesse Plemons

Features: Featurettes
Slip Cover: Yes
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1

Audio: English (Dolby Atmos)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 49.74 GB
Total Bitrate: 31.52 Mbps
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

The Criterion Collection provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

THE MOVIE — 3½/5

Plot Synopsis: Left behind by the world, former hit man and union truck driver Frank Sheeran (ROBERT DE NIRO) looks back from a nursing home on his life’s journey through the ranks of organized crime, from his involvement with Philadelphia mob boss Russell Bufalino (JOE PESCI) to his association with Teamsters union head Jimmy Hoffa (AL PACINO) to the rift that forced him to choose between the two. An intimate story of loyalty and betrayal writ large across the epic canvas of mid-twentieth-century American history.

Quick Hit Review: The Irishman seems like a long-digesting project for both Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro and would seem that the behind-the-scenes aspects might be just as intriguing as the movie’s plot itself, with a budget that, thanks to visual effects to de-age De Niro and Pesci, ballooned to anywhere between $150-250 million, humungous for any film let alone a crime drama.

Taking the behind-the-scenes aspects aside, The Irishman is Martin Scorsese’s 3.5 hour crime opus, a film that puts together many incredible actors, including the pairing of De Niro and Al Pacino for only the third time in their expansive career (Heat and Righteous Kill were the other two), plus brought Joe Pesci out of retirement (his last live action appearance was 2010’s Love Ranch). The film also has a respectable supporting cast that includes Harvey Keitel, Bobby Cannavale and Ray Romano (much respect to him, solid dramatic actor), amongst others.

All that said, and it is amazing to see De Niro, Pacino and Pesci on the screen together, and unlikely this will happen again, I can’t say I was completely in love with the movie. One issue is it is 3.5 hours long with a middle section that did lag a bit before picking up somewhat with the third act. It’s not that I can’t watch a movie of this length (heck, The Godfather Part II and Apocalypse Now are two of my favorites), but felt like 20-30 minutes could’ve been trimmed. On the other hand, I can’t say I was ever bored and was at least transfixed on the performances with De Niro putting in some actual work versus other films he was in purely for the paycheck (to his credit, he also has Joker on his resume, so maybe he’s on the right track?).

Tonally it’s a bit all over the place. The film starts off with De Niro narrating to the camera and I believe only one scene with Pesci’s Russ character talking to the camera as well, but these instances were very few, and then throughout the film we get text over character introductions of when and how they were killed. I don’t know, seems like they wanted different direction with the unrolling of the plot. At the very least, doesn’t flow quite as nicely compared with Goodfellas.

I will say, to put it into perspective for those reading, I don’t consider myself a huge fan of Martin Scorsese, great filmmaker for sure and he is very entertaining to watch in interviews with his vast knowledge of cinema in general, however outside of Goodfellas, his movies are just solid in my eyes, and The Irishman falls right in there, great acting, fine direction and an interesting story, yet doesn’t move me one way or the other. That said, even at 3.5 hours, it’s still well worth checking out if nothing else but to see some acting titans on screen together, a trio that won’t happen again.



This two-disc set is housed in a digi-pack packaging and side-slides into a study slip case. Inside is a booklet. All bonus material is on the second disc.

Making The Irishman (36:10) – This is a behind-the-scenes featurette with interviews by the cast and crew including Scorsese, De Niro, Pacino and others. Not really too surprising, but Pesci is absent.

Table for Four: Scorsese, De Niro, Pacino, and Pesci (18:59) – A roundtable conversation featuring these renowned talents discussing their careers, the film, characters and other topics.

Gangsters’ Requiem (21:27) – Video essay from film critic Farran Smith Nehme looking at The Irishman’s synthesis of Scorsese’s signature formal techniques.

Anatomy of a Scene: The Irishman (5:05) – This is a single scene commentary where Scorsese talks through the Frank Sheeran Appreciation Night scene. Made for the New York Times’ online series.

The Evolution of Digital De-Aging (12:55) is a promotional featurette that was released by Netflix where Scorsese and the Visual Effects Supervisor and his team at ILM discuss the groundbreaking work of de-aging the main characters. Probably one of the more interesting featurettes.

Frank Sheeran and Jimmy Hoffa (5:48/17:21) – Selection of excerpts from two archival videos which were used as references by Scorsese and the cast in preparation for filming.

Trailer and Teaser (4:28)


VIDEO – 5/5

The Criterion Collection releases The Irishman onto Blu-ray where it is presented in its original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer taken from a 4K scan of both the digital-camera footage and the 35mm camera negative, the former used for the de-aging scenes, with color grading that was approved by Martin Scorsese, cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto and editor Thelma Schoomaker. As such, this picture quality looks utterly amazing, detail is incredibly strong and nicely defined, colors are in keeping with the time periods, and the natural film grain and noise is on display.

AUDIO – 4¾/5

The disc includes a Dolby Atmos track – remastered from the digital master audio files – which are near phenomenal, from the score and soundtrack to the dialogue levels coming via the center speaker with good clarity. The surround speakers get some fine usage for the ambient noises (such as the sounds of the city or the splattering of the blood), making for an excellent lossless track.


OVERALL – 4¼/5

The Irishman was a little disappointing if only for the amount of praise the film received from both the professional and regular everyday movie-watchers, however it was great to see three veteran actors with De Niro, Pacino and Pesci on-screen together for perhaps the only time given their ages and the fact Pesci had to be lured out of retirement. For that, and even with its 3.5 hour running time, this is worth watching as the story and characters are just compelling enough.




Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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