demi adejuyigbe’s review published on Letterboxd:
(no real spoilers per se, but i'm talkin about the tone of the film so if you wanna go in completely blind on what to expect, go away!!! but also, the movie is 3.5 hours, there is a strong chance you will have forgotten all of this by the time the ending comes)
About an hour into the film, the format starts to unravel in a way that makes you think "ah, this just might be another 'portrait of a criminal' Scorcese movie– but longer." And it isn't until the last hour that you can really feel what makes this movie different– there's absolutely no joy in Scorcese's portrayal of Frank's life. No fun times, no "this is the life it gave me," no celebration or pride in what Frank is doing– and very little sadness in it either, until a crucial point where the movie turns (and, imo, becomes truly fucking stellar.) Pacino is giving an absolutely stunning comedic performance in this movie and it's truly a shock and a shame that this is the first time he's worked with Scorcese. Pesci comes out of retirement and hits a grand fucking slam with a very intense but quiet and terrifying character that draws your attention every time he's on the screen.
My hottest take that is sure to get people yelling at me about this film, is that it might be better to watch on your TVs at home! I loved watching it with an audience. But something about the film made it feel like a cozy cable TV watch where you don't mind the commercials because hey, the movie is three Bambis long. It's also not much a visual spectacle film– though fuck, the CGI de-aging is truly outstanding. Even if you're looking for it at first, it quickly fades into the film so well that you forget they did anything at all.