Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” finally made its debut at the 2019 New York Film Festival at a press and industry screening ahead of tonight’s official world premiere screening. The first reactions to the long-in-the-works gangster epic are pouring in from film critics and journalists and, for the most part, they are spectacular. While the de-aging VFX Scorsese used to make cast members Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci is proving hit or miss, the overall movie is being showered in strong praise.
“‘The Irishman’ is like a greatest hits album from a master of the medium. Yes, that’s a positive,” IndieWire chief critic Eric Kohn wrote on Twitter. “The artifice of de-aging is more feature than bug. It’s not ‘slow.’ It often moves like lightening and elsewhere it’s downright Bressonian.”
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/Film critic Chris Evangelista adds, “‘The Irishman’ is a masterwork. Funny, epic, and most of all, melancholy. It’s Scorsese confronting aging, legacies, and mortality. I may or may not have teared up at the end.”
“The Irishman” stars De Niro as Frank Sheeran, a World War II veteran who became a mob hitman and allegedly played a role in Jimmy Hoffa’s death. Scorsese’s “Gangs of New York” co-writer Steven Zaillian wrote the script based on Charles Brandt’s book “I Heard You Paint Houses.” Pacino stars as Hoffa, while Pesci, who won an Oscar for starring in Scorsese’s “Goodfellas,” plays mob member Russell Bufalino. The supporting cast also includes Bobby Cannavale, Harvey Keitel, Ray Romano, and Anna Paquin.
“The Irishman” will open in select theaters beginning November 1. Netflix is giving the film an exclusive theatrical release for just over three weeks. The drama debuts on streaming starting November 27. Check out the first wave of reactions below.
THE IRISHMAN is like a greatest hits album from a master of the medium. Yes, that’s a positive.
The artifice of de-aging is more feature than bug.
It’s not “slow.” It often moves like lightening & elsewhere it’s downright Bressonian.
This is not a review! Those are embargoed.
— erickohn (@erickohn) September 27, 2019
THE IRISHMAN is good! takes 90 minutes to lock in & clear out the cobwebs / adjust to CGI, but the scope is a virtue, the performances are killer (Joseph! Frank! Pesci!) & it eventually coheres into a heart-stopping meditation on the myopia of time. an old man movie for the ages.
— david ehrlich (@davidehrlich) September 27, 2019
THE IRISHMAN: An instant Martin Scorsese crime classic that’s everything you want to be, and more.
De Niro’s best work in ages, Pesci lights up the screen, and Al Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa screaming about the Kennedys is the peak of cinema!
— Brett _________ (@BrettRedacted) September 27, 2019
THE IRISHMAN is a masterwork. Funny, epic, and most of all, melancholy. It’s Scorsese confronting aging, legacies, and mortality. I may or may not have teared up at the end…
— Chris Evangelista (@cevangelista413) September 27, 2019
THE IRISHMAN: Pacino unhinges his jaw and swallows this thing whole like a python choking down a gazelle carcass, berserker mode king shit
— Charles Bramesco (@intothecrevasse) September 27, 2019
THE IRISHMAN: al pacino … oscar ?????
— karen han (@karenyhan) September 27, 2019
THE IRISHMAN is not GOODFELLAS/CASINO part 3. Different pace different tone. It is, however, absolutely fucking fantastic and I am floored. All hail the King.
— Jordan Hoffman (@jhoffman) September 27, 2019
I wish I could take a photo in he dark of all these people on their phones doing twitter hot takes on #TheIrishman. Here’s mine: it’s middle of the Scorsese pack. Def more of a sober character study than classic tense mob thriller
— Mara Reinstein (@MaraReinstein) September 27, 2019
Alright, more coherent thoughts on #TheIrishman to come in my review tonight but I’ll say this for now because I know people are curious about it: The de-aging worked for me! Jarring at first, but you got used to it, and De Niro was good enough that it didn’t matter.
— Anna Menta (@annalikestweets) September 27, 2019
THE IRISHMAN – Audacious, epic, a film that feels like it spans lifetimes yet whisks by. Technically bold, performances raw and darkly humourous, it is the culmination of Scorsese’s genre fascinations, and a late career triumph. Truly cinematic, demanding to be seen big #nyff57
— Jason Gorber @ #NYFF (@filmfest_ca) September 27, 2019
— Josh Encinias @ NYFF (@joshencinias) September 27, 2019
Boy. #TheIrishman is a fitting homecoming for De Niro, Pacino, Pesci, and Scorsese’s ode to gangster cinema. Hilarious and sharply written. A portrait of mortality and legacy, told like a culmination of everything we have ever seen in this genre. It’s LONG but never boring. #NYFF pic.twitter.com/OBTAXem4On
— Kevin L. Lee @ NYFF (@Klee_FilmReview) September 27, 2019
To expand: THE IRISHMAN is well paced. Pacino gives one of his performance in years. Pesci surprisingly plays against type. Incredibly funny. I’ll save the rest of my thoughts for the review. #NYFF57
— Robert Daniels @ NYFF (@812filmreviews) September 27, 2019
THE IRISHMAN: Think GOODFELLAS, but directed by the man who gave us SILENCE. A culmination, meditation and tribute to every Scorsese/De Niro/Pesci collaboration. And yet, Al Pacino towers over all of them with a funny, sad and haunting performance as Jimmy Hoffa.
— Jordan Ruimy @ #NYFF (@mrRuimy) September 27, 2019
#TheIrishman is Scorsese’s version of “On the Waterfront” meets “The Godfather,” almost a swan song with an added layer of nostalgia for his own past work. The editing is particularly excellent and all three actors are strong #NYFF57 #NYFF
— J Don Birnam @ NYFF (@jdonbirnam) September 27, 2019
#TheIrishman is utterly exceptional – vintage Scorsese. It takes so much from his best films and then becomes its own. Three brilliant performances and the deaging was no problem at all. #NYFF @FilmInquiry @netflix pic.twitter.com/wTCwhuopY9
— Brent Goldman @ NYFF (@bgoldman22) September 27, 2019