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‘Irishman’ Reviews: It’s Epic. It’s Excellent. It’s Funny?

Scorsese and company somehow manage to live up to the hype.


Mere mortals have to wait until November 1 to feast their eyes on The Irishman, but plenty of critics have already seen Martin Scorsese’s latest. Their verdict? Across the board, the Netflix film is getting rave reviews and the most surprising thing about those reviews is that not only do critics say the movie is great, it’s funny to boot.

In theory, we should expect this movie to be good. On paper, Scorsese directing De Niro, Pacino, Pesci in a film about organized crime sounds incredible. It’s not like this crew lacks experience in mob movies, and tackling the disappearance of Jimmy freakin’ Hoffa is the kind of storyline you’d want this murderer’s row to tackle.

What these early reviews are telling us that the concerns about the film—it’s three-and-a-half-hour runtime and liberal use of digital de-aging chief among them—were speed bumps for Scorsese, not insurmountable obstacles.

She’s not technically critic, but director Ava DuVernay voiced a common opinion of the film: it’s not too long!

Chris Evangelist, a critic at Slashfilm, says there’s a meta-message embedded within the film about a man looking back on his life and legacy. With stars 76, 76, and 79 years directed by a 76-year-old director, it’s hard to disagree with that particular interpretation.

Evangelist also alluded to something surprising that appears in lots of the initial reactions: The Irishman is funny as hell.

And while it might be tempting to assume that the film feels like Scorsese’s other mob masterpieces, more than one critic has said that it doesn’t feel like Casino or Goodfellas or even the most Irish film he’s made, Gangs of New York. It’s its own movie and a great one at that.

Of course, the downside to these raves is that it’s going to be even harder to sit through October anticipating its November 1 release date. Our advice: get a sitter now, because this sounds like the kind of movie that, even though it was funded by Netflix, deserves to be seen on the big screen.