1058 The Irishman

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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mfunk9786
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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#351 Post by mfunk9786 » Wed Dec 04, 2019 4:10 pm

Yeah, this whole thing started with De Niro developing the project with Scorsese, not sure why we're spinning yarns about things that have already been documented

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#352 Post by therewillbeblus » Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:00 pm

I'm not saying De Niro wasn't involved at the beginning but given Netflix's eagerness to finance and distribute auteurist films as of late, I don't think it's hard to believe that they would have financed Scorsese's next film regardless of that star's participation, but I clearly read the response incorrectly as insinuating rather than literally. Either way, that didn't address my main point about Scorsese finding an interesting way to use De Niro's current relaxed expressiveness to the film's benefit, which was the real intention of the post rather than the mechanics of how the project started.

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#353 Post by diamonds » Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:39 pm

Except, your original post is still flawed because of its fundamental misattribution. De Niro came to Scorsese with the project, his emotional attachment to the material was the impetus for the film and undoubtedly sculpted the performance; it's not some ingenious casting coup on Scorsese's part. In pursuit of a more traditional auteurist reading you're marginalizing De Niro's contributions to the work. (Didn't Rosenbaum identify De Niro as one of the four auteurs of Taxi Driver? I see no reason why that line of thinking couldn't apply to this film).

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#354 Post by mfunk9786 » Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:41 pm

Right, it was his reaction to the book (one of getting emotional over how sad it was) and their initial discussions about what this film would look like that drove the direction that Scorsese wanted to take the film. I don't think Scorsese, or De Niro, consider their careers as cynically as outsiders looking in do. A 76-year-old Scorsese has better things to do than to construct meta-narratives about how his friend De Niro was panned for his performance in Bad Grandpa

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#355 Post by therewillbeblus » Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:58 pm

diamonds wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:39 pm
Except, your original post is still flawed because of its fundamental misattribution. De Niro came to Scorsese with the project, his emotional attachment to the material was the impetus for the film and undoubtedly sculpted the performance; it's not some ingenious casting coup on Scorsese's part. In pursuit of a more traditional auteurist reading you're marginalizing De Niro's contributions to the work. (Didn't Rosenbaum identify De Niro as one of the four auteurs of Taxi Driver? I see no reason why that line of thinking couldn't apply to this film).
You're right, I'm sure it was a collaborative process as is all their work. I didn't mean to imply a skewed relationship with Scorsese as this puppeteer to De Niro's void of agency, and tried to ensure that I didn't convey a message of manipulation by comparing this as an inverse, but wanted to throw out the idea that De Niro's general demeanor he's grown into over the years that feels like a comfortable kind of passive confidence (not a dig) was utilized (in general, not by Scorsese alone) to a unique effect here. Alternate perspectives are able to bring out certain sides of an actor they cannot access alone, just as an actor is able to bring skills and thoughts to the table that a director may have not otherwise considered, and is it really that far-fetched to assume that Scorsese may have directed De Niro in a certain direction, as the film's director and someone who has known the man and worked with him for decades? I don't see how that is mutually exclusive from the idea that the process was collaborative, which of course it was. My semantics were off, sure, but the idea is the same.

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#356 Post by Cold Bishop » Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:32 pm

Apropos of the current discussion: let’s not forget that Raging Bull was De Niro’s passion project, and Scorsese had to be convinced to do it. It always sounded, from the years of lead up, this was mot dissimilar.

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#357 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Thu Dec 05, 2019 10:07 pm

As for the other way around, I believe that Warner Brothers would only make Goodfellas is if De Niro was cast.

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#358 Post by Jack Kubrick » Thu Dec 05, 2019 10:28 pm

flyonthewall2983 wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 10:07 pm
As for the other way around, I believe that Warner Brothers would only make Goodfellas is if De Niro was cast.
John Malkovich was one of the casting choices for the Jimmy role before Warner wanted a more bankable star in De Niro. Scorsese has tended to have trouble even attracting financial backing without the presence of his major leading men, Bob and Leo.

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#359 Post by Finch » Fri Dec 06, 2019 3:31 pm

Early viewing figures on Netflix are promising even when accounting for people who didn't watch it all the way through. Netflix surely has data on how many people simply stopped for a break and resumed at a later date.

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#360 Post by Finch » Fri Dec 06, 2019 3:36 pm


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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#361 Post by Noiretirc » Fri Dec 06, 2019 6:54 pm

I've read more than a couple of reviews where they state that the de-aging/CGI was so unconvincing that it ruined the viewing experience. I'm afraid to watch this.

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#362 Post by domino harvey » Fri Dec 06, 2019 6:57 pm

It's really only bad on De Niro, and mainly because we all know what younger De Niro looked like and it wasn't this. You get used to it, though

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#363 Post by Nasir007 » Fri Dec 06, 2019 7:03 pm

Noiretirc wrote:
Fri Dec 06, 2019 6:54 pm
I've read more than a couple of reviews where they state that the de-aging/CGI was so unconvincing that it ruined the viewing experience. I'm afraid to watch this.
It isn't distracting in the sense you can see the pixels or whatever. It is a failure in the sense that nobody really looks young at all. Even at his youngest, De Niro looks over 50. Once you accept that, it is fine. The performances are compelling enough that you don't notice the CGI. But everyone being old all the time might not give you a sense of timelines or how much time has passed.

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#364 Post by mfunk9786 » Fri Dec 06, 2019 7:20 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Fri Dec 06, 2019 6:57 pm
It's really only bad on De Niro, and mainly because we all know what younger De Niro looked like and it wasn't this. You get used to it, though
Quite quickly, in fact. I was bothered by it for approximately two minutes of a 3.5 hour film. I'm shocked that there are reviews of this that indicate that there's some problem that ruins the film - I wouldn't trust those critic(s) as far as I could throw them.

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#365 Post by nitin » Fri Dec 06, 2019 10:01 pm

Yeah anyone hung up on the cgi in this film is not engaged for other reasons. There is far more unconvincing cgi in many blockbusters.

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#366 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Fri Dec 06, 2019 11:41 pm

I almost laughed at how short the WWII flashback was because so much was made from the closeup they made of the still of him in the uniform.

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#367 Post by Finch » Sat Dec 07, 2019 12:28 am

Considering that the scene at the grave features some of the most unconvincing effects, I'm surprised Netflix picked it for inclusion in the bundle of pictures to be released prior to the film's opening. I have to agree though: while the effect is obvious, I found it only distracting initially.

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#368 Post by cdnchris » Sat Dec 07, 2019 12:32 am

The only part that really took me out was when De Niro was beating up the shopkeeper. It looked like the body of an 80-year-old man beating up someone despite the deaging effects on the face. Otherwise it was incredibly easy to get past everything else related to the effects.

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#369 Post by FrauBlucher » Sat Dec 07, 2019 10:13 am

After seeing it last week and then ruminating over it. I have to say I didn’t love it. I have to agree with several posts up thread, especially Domino’s. The pacing took me out of it. There were parts I became restless. Although I was in a theater and not at home, so maybe that had something to do with it. It didn’t have the flashiness of Goodfellas or Casino. Maybe it had to do with these mobsters (not the actors themselves) being in their twilight. And the de-aging didn’t make a big difference in my eyes. Early on DeNiro driving the truck, he looked plastic and waxy which jumped out at me, along with the scene Chris mentioned with the grocer.

I did love Pesci’s performance. Never saw that coming. Pacino was Pacino and DeNiro was DeNiro. Too bad Keitel didn’t have more of a role. And I thought Scorsese’s stock players, Romano and Cannavale, were excellent.

For me Silence is much closer to a late period Scorsese masterpiece for what that’s worth.

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#370 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Sat Dec 07, 2019 10:47 am

Pesci's last scenes really may have stuck out among everything else, which is no small feat considering the brilliance of everyone else from De Niro and Pacino on down to Jesse Plemons and Anna Paquin. But there was something about seeing him in the wheelchair and being so convincing in the old-age makeup and the wheel chair and talking without his teeth, that really spoke to me about how death gets us all, even the ones we find intimidating in life.

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#371 Post by therewillbeblus » Sat Dec 07, 2019 12:25 pm

flyonthewall2983 wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 10:47 am
Pesci's last scenes really may have stuck out among everything else, which is no small feat considering the brilliance of everyone else from De Niro and Pacino on down to Jesse Plemons and Anna Paquin. But there was something about seeing him in the wheelchair and being so convincing in the old-age makeup and the wheel chair and talking without his teeth, that really spoke to me about how death gets us all, even the ones we find intimidating in life.
This sums up my reaction. The De Niro scenes following and up until the final shot are powerful but this scene in prison with Pesci really sobered me up to the meaninglessness of what came before and the pathos in the missed opportunities that come from assigning false meaning and disengaging from the depth that we fear facing. Time is used in such a way that strips away all facades of significance in favor of a stark picture of failure and waste, and words like brutal only scrape the surface of this chilling sensation.

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#372 Post by MichaelB » Sat Dec 07, 2019 1:06 pm

cdnchris wrote:The only part that really took me out was when De Niro was beating up the shopkeeper. It looked like the body of an 80-year-old man beating up someone despite the deaging effects on the face. Otherwise it was incredibly easy to get past everything else related to the effects.
Interestingly, this scene was also the only time when I found it noticeably distracting (I saw it in a large cinema). Otherwise, it worked remarkably well.

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#373 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Sat Dec 07, 2019 9:23 pm

therewillbeblus wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 12:25 pm
flyonthewall2983 wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 10:47 am
Pesci's last scenes really may have stuck out among everything else, which is no small feat considering the brilliance of everyone else from De Niro and Pacino on down to Jesse Plemons and Anna Paquin. But there was something about seeing him in the wheelchair and being so convincing in the old-age makeup and the wheel chair and talking without his teeth, that really spoke to me about how death gets us all, even the ones we find intimidating in life.
This sums up my reaction. The De Niro scenes following and up until the final shot are powerful but this scene in prison with Pesci really sobered me up to the meaninglessness of what came before and the pathos in the missed opportunities that come from assigning false meaning and disengaging from the depth that we fear facing. Time is used in such a way that strips away all facades of significance in favor of a stark picture of failure and waste, and words like brutal only scrape the surface of this chilling sensation.
Robbie Robertson's theme is used effectively during some of this too, especially the part with the bowed bass playing the theme. It's such a haunting melody anyway, it adds more weight to when we see Russ being hauled away.

Vulture recently published this very good interview with Robertson about his work on the film, his collaboration with Scorsese, and touches even a little on his own familial "connections" as it were. This version of the tune, which plays over the end credits, has it's own connection to the past too. Derek Trucks plays on it, who was named after "Derek" Clapton in honor of the Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs album, of which Scorsese obviously made use of the title track before.

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#374 Post by Persona » Sat Dec 07, 2019 9:29 pm

Intentional or not, the "unreliable narrator" framework makes scenes like the grocer beating work for me. Sheeran can imagine younger facades on himself and his compatriots, but he can't remember what it's like to fully BE younger, old age and disease have seeped too deep into his bones at the time he is telling the story that is being visualized before us. Scorsese flashes his hand for just a moment when Sheeran's narration starts repeating the best route to Detroit again and suddenly we are back with those characters by the roadside. Time and mortality weigh heavy on every single frame, even when the characters are supposed to be younger. Sheeran is a very internal character that may seem somewhat cut off from letting the audience in until you realize the whole film has been SHOWING us this headspace and this mythos he has built for himself to make himself feel like he mattered and was important even as he knows he was just a "tough guy" with little to no agency of his own, following orders all the way to hell. The slow transition from mob epic to cold reality setting in is so masterfully handled, when we get into that coda it really recontextualizes and elevates this film while also acting as a chillingly resonant endgame for all of Scorsese's crime films.

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#375 Post by Foam » Sat Dec 07, 2019 10:29 pm

On the whole I agree with Domino's initial response. I'm not sure I could have found De Niro's character less interesting. For the whole film I was straining to understand what it was trying to say and why it was interested in doing anything it was doing. To me it's not really a matter of the film being too long, or too slow. I love Scorsese in his slower and more poetic mode as much as I love him at his most freewheeling and flashy. But this story didn't interest me, and the way it was told even less. The only time I felt anything at all in this film was in the conversations with the priest at the end, and in the final shot, but I'm a sucker for religious themes even in terrible films, so that doesn't say much.

And count me with those who found the de-aging thing a complete and total failure. How young is De Niro supposed to be at his youngest? How old is Pesci supposed to be at his youngest? They never look under 50 in their faces, and the performances certainly don't make up for that since they both hobble around like men in their 70s. I never got used to it and wasn't able to even get close to losing myself in the movie until late in the film when the effect was done for (although another factor with that is that Pacino has the only interesting character and doesn't appear until around then). And, I do not for a second agree that this story demanded the use of such technology. I would have much preferred different actors for the different ages. I sincerely hope the use of this technology dies among major directors.

I'm enough of a Scorsese fan, and I respect some of this film's defenders here enough, that I'll probably revisit it at some point with comments here in mind. But I went in expecting to like it and very thoroughly didn't.
Last edited by Foam on Sat Dec 07, 2019 10:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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