offmiles’s review published on Letterboxd:
Gritty and brooding Martin Scorsese's "I Heard You Paint Houses" grapples with mortality in what feels like the funeral of the Gangster genre. A bleak depiction of crime and the life that comes with it, The Irishman is not the nostalgic fun of Goodfellas or the exiting ecstasy of The Wolf of Wall Street, but rather a slow and personal journey of a foot soldier.
Frank Sheeran in his own words "was one of a thousand working stiffs," until he met Russell Bufalino, which lead him down a path of organized crime. That is until Frank found himself in a nursing home waiting to die, alone with no one by his side. Here is where we see Frank for the first and last time, in solitude, making us ask the all important question: was it worth it?
This question perfectly sums up the themes The Irishman is trying to convey. Those are themes of following instructions and ultimately regret of following those instructions. Frank spent a lifetime being loyal to the shot callers, but in the process killed his best friend and drove everybody close to him away. So when it's all said and done was a life of doing others dirty work worth it?
Mortality and death are also recurring themes of this film. Every character we meet, we are informed on how they meet their fate. Most of the important characters end up dead by the final bow of the 3 1/2 hour runtime. Scorsese and De Niro perfectly illustrate that the scariest way to meet death isn't staring down a barrel of a gun, but rather dying slowly and alone.
Deliberate and meandering I'd be lying if I said The Irishman didn't feel long. That being said I never felt anything was boring or unnecessary. Martin Scorsese, with is his long working contemporaries De Niro and Pesci, give us a film that feels like the tale end of many legendary careers all culminating into a great and reflective piece.