If you were born after 2000, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro have been old your entire life. So seeing the CGI reanimation of these three legendary actors on first the silver screen (for four weeks) then on your computer or TV screen was interesting, to say the least.
“The Irishman,” adapted from the book “I Heard You Paint Houses” by Charles Brandt, is the most Oscar bait-y of the Oscar bait we got this year. The story starts with an older Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) as he retells his life as a hitman for the Italian crime syndicate that began in the 1950s. Characters such as Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci), a mob boss who befriends Frank and brings him into the organization, and Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino), a Union Teamster with ties to organized crime.
Tie it all together with Director and Producer Martin Scorsese overseeing the entire film and get the end of the unofficial trilogy that Scorsese and this band of actors have made. If you throw in “Goodfellas” and “Casino,” you now have two of the three getting Best Picture nominations.
That is where the first of a handful of problems begin for this movie. The fact that the CGI for this film is so noticeable was a big takeaway I had after the first time I saw it (yes, I saw this movie multiple times). The fact that, as an audience, we know how Joe Pesci looks like right now, it’s hard for you to try to sell me on him being any younger than 65 at any point in this movie.
By the end of the movie, after having to digitally unage most of the leads in the film, when the film tries to make them seem older or show their natural age they look like dried out Yoda impersonators.
The other issue with this movie is its length. This movie is almost three and a half hours and it feels that long. Unlike other movies where you might leave the theater wondering how the time flew by, there were many times on the rewatch of this movie that I caught myself on my phone or thinking about something else. I can’t say that about any of the other Oscar nominated movies, especially in the best picture category.
While many older audiences enjoy remembering their past experiences with these actors, I spent most of the movie wondering if they were ever going to introduce younger actors into the fold and have Scorsese continue to give us great mob movies but without having to check his actors out of the retirement home.