Sunday, November 10, 2019

A Note To A Friend On Scorsese’s The Irishman

‪I’m afraid I join the small minority of critics and reviewers, a paltry few, who were disappointed by this movie though my take is likely idiosyncratic. ‬

‪The acting is of course boss. The recreation of those times and characters is superb. And the arc is interesting. But I’m baffled by the point of it all. We have the mildly humorous, never condemnatory, humanization of a low life, murderous, soulless creep of a thug, laced with too many comic touches, in the telling of his story. This movie, after all, isn’t “The Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight.” These were terrible, terrible people, but that doesn’t really come across. The humour, the series of virtually comic, flippant subtitles about the guys who were murdered by X number of bullets, the murderous gangsters coming across like lovable old uncles all lend a mild, entertaining tone that cuts against a vivid sense of how homicidally bad these low life thugs  were.‬

‪I don’t get the point of that.‬

‪It seems to me that the great amount of undeniable craft is wasted on a subject unworthy of it all. ‬

‪As I say, I found the movie soulless. And that it’s a kind of docudrama that surveys a series of historical events diminishes, for me, what dramatic power it might have otherwise have had. I wasn’t, for example, moved by the seeming dilemma for Frank in needing, having been ordered, to take out his very close friend, Hoffa—(and it’s disputed, maybe even debunked, that he even did it.) His fairly easy compliance erases any sense of his dilemma and any drama. Plus, the murder of Hoffa scene is excruciating in its unnecessary slow length. ‬

‪I was never exactly bored but some parts of the movie stretched out too long. I found myself at times getting impatient and looking at my watch. ‬

‪I have an extra acute sense of disappointment likely because my expectations and excited anticipation were so high. ‬

‪So, in a nutshell, my view is of the movie’s pointlessness. My wife loved the acting but was neither here nor there about the film. We rode down in an elevator to get to my car and I was humming In The Still Of The Night. An elderly woman riding down with us smiled at my humming. She’d seen the movie and she loved it. So, go know. ‬

‪If I had to score it, I’d give a disappointing 3.5 out of 5, 7 out of 10, 70 out of a 100.‬

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