August 12, 2020

Behind the Hoffa

Recently, I watched the new Netflix release “The Irishman”.

Martin Scorsese’s most recent film follows the story of Frank Sheeran as he incorporates himself in both the Italian Mafia and Jimmy Hoffa’s life. The truck driver turned Teamster becomes a well known activist and political head, while trying to balance friend with foe; plus everyone in between.

Having consumed movies such as the Godfather, Taxi Driver, and Raging Bull, I’ve seen Scorsese deliver some truly brilliant pieces in his lifetime, and some equally questionable ones.

So where does The Irishman stand?

If I had to put it simply, I began the almost three and a half hour journey slightly tired, and worried a movie with his usual pacing would be a little hard to withstand (given my sleepy state). Especially, since it was already 11:30pm and I had a full day behind me. In the end however, not only did the time pass by without so much as a glance towards the clock, but I felt more awake and excited than I did going in.

This outcome was very surprising to me because as I mentioned in a previous post, I don’t care much for political discussions or information of such nature. Maybe it’s because I have a difficult time putting names to faces, or remembering connections often referenced, but usually films steeped with political intrigue leave me confused and disheartened.

At least, until The Irishman.

Sure there are some names you need to keep track of, but I never felt like I was watching a documentary; or following a plot so convoluted I’d need a note-pad and magnifying glass to find my way out. The movie’s pacing is consistent, mixing the occasional brief (but raw) piece of violence with the more emotionally compelling dramatic narrative, and even throws in a couple calm moments to appreciate the atmosphere and simplicity of an older time.

Were I Martin Scorsese (after such a long and prestigious career), I’d want to quite on a high note. In this particular case, I couldn’t think of a higher note than what was presented with his recent picture. Delivered spectacularly, with a cast many people have only dreamed about coming together for a serious film, I truly enjoyed every moment passing within this precarious tale.

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