The Irishman – a review

When the trailer of “The Irishman” was first out, I almost got a fit. As a big fan of Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, it is not easy to have the chance to see them work together. And when you throw in Joe Pesci into the ring, it is becoming almost perfect.

If my recollection is any good, the trio has never been together in one movie. There were a few combinations of the two actors, but there was never any movie where the three of them would play together. Thus, the news that Martin Scorcese will be directing this trio together for “The Irishman” is something that I should not miss.

The Netflix movie was based on the book written by Charles Brandt called “I Heard You Paint the House”. It revolves around the narrative of Frank Sheeran, an Irishman that is played by Robert De Niro. Frank was initially working as a delivery man. During one of the delivery routing, his truck broke down and it was Russell Bufalino aka McGee aka The Old Man assisted to fix the problem. From there, the acquaintance evolved into a long-lasting friendship. Frank eventually became a trusted left-hand man to perform some of the dirty work for Russ.

James Riddle Hoffa aka Jimmy Hoffa was a well-known leader for a labour union called International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT). It was a very powerful labour union, as their members can control the distributions of goods across North American. Teamsters was known to be associated with organized crime families such as those of Bufalino or Gotti family. A lot of their activities had to be sanctioned by these organized crimes as some of the funding for their activities came from these organization. Hoffa was instrumental to accumulate a substantial amount of fund for the union throughout his tenure. These rattles some internal competitions, as people are eyeing for the piece of this pie. Subsequently, Hoffa requested for some assistance from Russ, and Russ appointed Frank to become Hoffa’s right-hand man.

There started the long term relationship between Frank and Hoffa, where Frank eventually becomes Hoffa’s confidant. This is where things take a different turn, as the organized crime family members see the challenge by Hoffa to turn them into the authority present a dilemma to Frank. Despite the various view, Hoffa simply ignored the advice. In the end, Russ himself has ordered a hit on Hoffa, and Frank was entrusted to carry out the job.

While Scorcese decided to include that hit scene, some people have flatly denied that Frank Sheeran had never confessed on his deathbed that he was the one killing Jimmy Hoffa. Until now, that account is still debated and since most of the people that were involved are no longer around, we will never get a chance to know the actual story.

Toward the end, we know that everybody was hauled up by the government on certain charges. But the charges on who killed Jimmy Hoffa was never stuck. The Bufalino’s family were disbanded and the whole crew were arrested and jailed. FBI might be acted on the information that they received from Sal Briguglio aka Sally Bugs. Sal was depicted to be shot at point-range by Frank Sheeran in one of the scenes.

It was a long movie, which some people say can further be compressed. However, I am certainly enjoying it. Call me biased or what, but every scene was carefully directed that it add clarity and richness to the story. It captures the essence of how organized crime family function. Despite the cruelty on how they operate, the family will always be the priority. This is also prevalent in other movies that depicted organized crime such as those in the Godfather trilogy, Goodfella and few others. De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci as always were excellent in playing their role. Joe Pesci especially was very effective to play that cool yet respected character in some of the scenes. If ever there is any flaw to the whole movie is because the age is catching up with the whole trio. The use of CGI to fix some of those deficiencies may have helped to align that mafioso look to them. All in all, I would definitely sit down and do a rewind of the movie.

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