The Irishman ★★★½

LFF 2019 - Film 18

What a way to close out the London Film Festival - being one of the first to see this on the big screen. Unlike The Irishman, I'll do my best to keep this short.

The CGI de-aging mostly works. It was a bit hit and miss in the first hour but as the characters got older and there was less to change, it got more convincing. I can understand how some people justify the runtime but I'm sorry, I just found it way too long. Thrown in with the fact that you needed some background in mob/union politics to fully understand this and appreciate the (dubious) historical context, and the intercutting flashbacks meant that I was almost overwhelmed at points. De Niro was enigmatic, perfect as a guy willing to have no control over his life and go with the flow, Pesci was restrained and cooly collected, Pacino... I was reminded too much of Heat at times with his Hoffa going off the rails a bit. Romano was surprisingly good too (when Bad Education hits general release he'll have two strong recent performances under his belt).

Although I did like it, I think my issues can be summed up with the car scene near the end. Yes, I can see how for some it could build tension and emotion but for me it was a drawn-out scene in an already drawn-out film. I think that the film could have been tightened up and not lost anything important.

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