Forthcoming: The Irishman

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#276 Post by cdnchris » Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:46 am


MichaelB wrote:
yoloswegmaster wrote:Someone on the awardsworthy forum is claiming that Netflix is paying critics to rave about this film.
If this guy could let me know where to send the invoice, I’d be most grateful.
I assume the same place where you would send in for your payout for positive reviews for Marvel movies. At least that's what a bunch of upset DC fans were saying.

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#277 Post by MichaelB » Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:10 am

Somewhere in these forums there's a hilarious argument between Nothing and myself about whether or not Sight & Sound ordered its writers to only write positive reviews of UK Film Council-backed titles.

You'd have thought that the demonstrable fact that I myself had written negative reviews of UKFC-backed films in that very publication would have persuaded him otherwise, but no.

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#278 Post by nitin » Sat Nov 09, 2019 10:58 pm

I was hoping to like this, Scorsese is my second favorite director but his post 90s work has been hit or miss for me (although never less than interesting).

But I was not prepared for how much I ended up liking it. The most staggeringly great thing about it is how it all feels so effortless, my friend actually thought it was a 2 hr movie until he realised that we had walked out of the cinema about 4 hours after we had gone in (20 min of ads etc)!

There is a lot going on here, it’s a deconstruction of sorts of the very myths that Scorsese, De Niro, Pesci and Pacino themselves created about American mobs and gangsters but it goes about it in a much quieter Touchez Pas Au Grisbi (a clear touchstone) manner/tone than anything from the last 30 years, and lacks the swaggery tone of something like his own Goodfellas.

But it is also a mini history of late 20th Century America, as filtered through the unrealiable (and delusional) filter of men that thought they were more important than they probably were in the scheme of things. As an example, it’s worth paying attention to the details that DeNiro’s Frank Sheehan can recall in specific detail in his voiceover, and the details he either chooses to skip over or mumble his way through because they are not as ‘important’ to his version of the story worth telling.

The whole thing is layered with staggering detail, each part cast and performed perfectly, and constructed so beautifully that you can’t but help to just go along for the ride. Rodrigo Prieto’s work is absolutely sublime and well worth seeing in cinema if possible. But the biggest behind the scenes plus, as it has been in his best works, is Thelma Schoonmaker’s editing. This has to be the Best Oscar for editing this year, it’s an absolute masterclass on how to keep something so labyrinthine moving along, managing also not to lose the viewer’s track of the multitude of eras, characters and relationships that the film goes through.

As for the de-ageing aspect, the best compliment I have is that after a couple of initial scenes where it looked off and noticeable, I stopped noticing it. But as mfunk says above, I think a lot of that has to do with how engaging the film was rather than the quality of the de-ageing improving. But it definitely did not feel any more distracting than regular makeup to me.

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#279 Post by bdsweeney » Sat Nov 09, 2019 11:35 pm

Managed to see this presented yesterday on a reasonably large screen in a boutique screening room.

From the off, it's clear that the producers and director still believe the film's name is I Heard You Paint Houses. It's that which appears as the title at the film's start and it reappears once at the conclusion immediately after The Irishman appears and before Scorsese's name appears as the director. And it's a far more fitting name as it directly refers to this film's concerns ... a man's life given almost entirely to the services he provides over the decades no matter how empty or wicked those services may be.

For the first hour or so, it can feel like you're watching a re-run of greatest hits (the expected music, camera movements and faces are all there). Nevertheless, if you're happy for that to be the case, the pull of the narrative drive and the story's intricacy is strong and keeps interest ... while not providing too much which you haven't seen before.

But as it continues, Scorsese uses this familiarity to his advantage as different themes emerge and the repetition of different devices (short descriptions of various people's fates, certain characters' silence) provide different perspectives on the familiar. If anyone in the past believes Scorsese has been too swept in by the romanticism or glamour of his chartacters' tales, here he's a little more distant. He's more willing to show his characters as fools or like children too swept up by their bravado emotions.

This all accumulates over the first three or so hours until you get to the coda ... when all of a sudden you're blindsided by an enormous emotional wallop.
SpoilerShow
While in this section the previous underlying themes become explicit ... it's well and truly clear that De Niro's Frank Sheeran is a bad man and his decades' worth of 'service' is essentially pointless ... Scorsese doesn't provide forgiveness or absolution but he does acknowledge Sheeran's growing self-awareness and the empathy this deserves. And by the very final shot of the priest sitting with Sheeran, the emotion of this (and an almost summation of Scorsese's ongoing interest in America's tight connection with criminality and its enormous waste and cost) is incredibly moving. But you're not even aware of it until those very last few minutes.
As to the performances, I actually found having so many familiar faces on screen a little bit distracting. But De Niro very much puts in a committed performances and Pacino is more than just his usual bluster (Scorsese uses his charisma well). But it'll be Joe Pesci who should get (and may well receive) the deserved plaudits. More like his quiet performance in Raging Bull than his bluster in Goodfellas or Casino, he's just brilliant.

Overall, is it the masterpiece some are calling it? That, I'm not sure about. But it is weighty, great storytelling and contains a great deal more than its 'lets get all the gang back together' premise might suggest.
Last edited by bdsweeney on Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#280 Post by Nasir007 » Sun Nov 10, 2019 12:34 am

The production design is extraordinary. The costume design in extraordinary. The lensing is uniformly good. The sound is exceptionally good. The de-aging VFX did not bother me at all. With that out of the way...

An extraordinary length in a movie is like making an extraordinary claim in court. You better back it up with the goods. You better have good solid reasons and a story to back it up. I did not find that to be the case here. I found the film extremely tedious, boring in parts and I was yawning throughout (and I saw both Soah and Satantango in single sittings without any problem). The pacing here is completely off.

As is the muddled screenplay. What is this movie even built around structurally? The film literally takes about two hours to even get started. Everything before that mark seems like set-up and an interminable deluge of exposition.

I think it all begins with construction. Superficially, the movie is constructed around Frank Shreeran - the Irishman of the title - who in this telling, is a supremely uninteresting character. The character is a cipher, essentially a dumb henchman, mostly opaque and we have little access to his thoughts or state of mind. He's not sympathetic in the least at any point in the story and you wonder why are we even following him. I enjoy unsympathetic characters plenty but Sheeran, as good as De Niro is here, is really not even fascinating like I said - just dull. He is also kind of an unwitting narrator it would seem, a Watson figure in some way, a character who is narrating a story about far more interesting people. And the story that he narrates here is actually not about himself but about the fortunes of Hoffa and the circumstances around his disappearance. Hoffa is the reason this movie exists, Hoffa gives the movie an interesting character it can coalesce around and it takes interminably long to arrive at the good stuff.

The movie is also compiled in a bit of a muddled way. There are two frame narratives. Old senile Sheeran talking to the camera and the audience which is the first frame. Embedded in it is the second frame which is a road-trip with Sheerean and Bufalino to Detroit for a wedding. And embedded within this road-trip functioning as recollections is essentially a broad survey of Sheeran's life more or less chronologically to bring us to the conclusion of the road-trip. This structure is not readily apparent and any urgency or cohesion that it might have provided is lost over the extended run-time. Maybe it's a shortcoming of the editing.

The film isn't boring for lack of incident. Indeed, scene upon scene pile up - offering a broad compendium of events in US history, and mob violence and labor unions, but there is no inherent drama. You really wonder for the first 2 hours where is this all headed? What is the point? There is no momentum to the film. It repeatedly stalls in scenes. Even many if not most of the conversations seem to go on for too long. They arrive at the point after circuitously roving about. The entire enterprise seems to be suffused with lethargy even though the film-making itself is consistently good.

For me, the only point where I felt engrossed and where I felt that there was true drama on the screen and this embalmed movie came alive from its tomb (or mausoleum) was -
SpoilerShow
the extended sequence of Hoffa's assassination. Right from the first warning of it to the two days which chronicle the planning and execution of it.
I felt this 30 minute or so section was the meat of the story - one of the standout sequences of the year, amazingly directed, with extremely high stakes, full of suspense and dread and just all round superbly executed. This essentially represents the climax of the story - or even the reason why the book was written and the movie was made. And yet it takes about 2 hours before you get here and another 30 minutes after it.

There was no drama in Sheeran's life story because it was just a series of incidents. There didn't seem to be any conflict. Only in the sequence above is when the film can breathe and slow down and milk the extremely potent drama of the situation and have discernible human emotions involved.

I should also add that, adding to the tedium is the fact that - while the de-aging is inoffensive - none of the characters ever really look young. I think youngest De Niro looked was probably 45. So even though this was supposed to span decades, you don't see the variation or passage of time in the faces. Instead of fresh, boyish, young, middle-aged, old, older, decaying, you only see the last 3 or if we want to be charitable the last 4.

Be that as it may, the film overall is well done and it is hard to fault it on many fronts. The acting is exceptional throughout. Every player is in top form - I specially loved Pesci. Pacino is very good as well. But the film at least in my first viewing, did not grip me. I rarely if ever watch a film again, so I am reluctant to watch a movie again which I found boring and overlong the first time around. But I will see if time is kinder to the movie in my memory. I do think it is not a complete waste of time, but I think it falls far short of what it could have been and it most certainly could do with considerable editing and shortening.

For a far better gangster picture this year, I would point out Bellochio's The Traitor. That is a film which you could think covers similar ground in that it talks about the hard stuff once the glory days are over. It also is far more poignant and compelling in portraying the end of a gangster's life. That film - also running 2 and a half hours, is tightly edited and controlled and has bravura sequence upon bravura sequence as it unravels the gangster culture through similar political turmoil and corruption in Italy. Not to mention the courtroom scenes are outstanding. For those looking for an alternative to Irishman, I would highly recommend The Traitor as a point of comparison.

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#281 Post by therewillbeblus » Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:52 am

Nasir007 wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 12:34 am
There was no drama in Sheeran's life story because it was just a series of incidents. There didn't seem to be any conflict.
This felt very much the point of the film. Sheeran isn’t allotted an empathetic setup like previous Scorsese antihero films. His life is a series of incidents, and the conflict hardly exists because he floats by, refusing to acknowledge it as such or to meditate on choices, meaning, identity, morals. His relationship with Hoffa is the most wonderful juxtaposition because Hoffa deeply believes in his cause, has purpose, ethics, identity, and is willing to die for his meaning. One is alive and one is not, one shows up to life and the other participates passively, one takes on challenges to those ideas and positions he holds dear and the other takes the easy way by not holding anything dear. Hoffa may have lived a shorter life but the film seems to argue that having passion (for one‘s job, family, self, you name it) is what makes life a life worth living when you’re looking back on it. I think of a final line from Pesci to De Niro about it being him or us- but why did it have to be? There’s no ‘glory days’ shown to indicate that this life may have been worth it for anybody -nor any particularly interesting mob characters- like Goodfellas and co., and these false rationalizations achieve only half-hearted acceptance.

De Niro played a very uninteresting and rather pathetic man in the best way possible, while Al Pacino stole the movie putting all of his energy into Hoffa. It’s no surprise that he was Sheeran’s only friend, for not only does he have everything that Sheeran wanted, but Hoffa cared about him, in a way nobody else stopped to look around to do, not even Sheeran himself.

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#282 Post by nitin » Tue Nov 12, 2019 2:43 am

TWBB, do you agree with my comments above that there is also a deliberation about which events/details Sheeran remembers/divulges and which he chooses to rush past/skip over/considers “unimportant”?

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#283 Post by therewillbeblus » Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:49 pm

I do, though in the instances where he more obviously skips over details i.e. “Hoffa’s son got ten months for (mumbles passed unimportant info)” I took for comedy, and in that specific case perhaps a defense mechanism of suppression to draw his own attention away from the Hoffa family, avoid confronting guilt and the moral discomfort that makes him a walking dead and, conversely, Hoffa alive.
nitin wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 10:58 pm
But it is also a mini history of late 20th Century America, as filtered through the unrealiable (and delusional) filter of men that thought they were more important than they probably were in the scheme of things.
This is a great point and plays as a more pitiable version of Scorsese’s other pictures which were also intentionally led by unreliable narrators. Sheeran seems to be offering this behind-the-scenes secret history of certain events as the only aspect of his life that’s of any worth: membership to a club that was interesting but meaningless, and fakes that importance until he can’t anymore and we see how insignificant it all was. However, even the events we see, with long drives, banal missions, meetings between big wigs stuffed with little substance other than quips about ear sizes and time of arrival, squashes any real romanticism about his participation in these events and renders them uninteresting, not even allowing him that justification. It’s akin to the sobering realization that spy life is not James Bond but John le Carré applied to organized crime, and hints at a subconscious apathy he feels about his life.

Which leads to the main reason I think the film is diluted in its telling of history: Sheeran's relationship with Hoffa. Hoffa was the core around Sheeran’s moments of lucidity in life, the only opportunity he had to have a connection and feel truly empowered (getting to be the head of a district gave him more joy than any mob job, and the only time we see him honestly happy or humbled is in a celebration dinner for that ‘small’ role -where Hoffa significantly gives him the award, nothing related to his gangster life). He loved Hoffa, the man was his soul mate, and their connection was stronger than any familial, professional, or even self-focused love within this narrative. I was left wondering what the film, or book, or Sheeran’s memories, would have been like had he not met Hoffa. We may have gotten a more glamorized version of the lifeless picture of peripheral events, for I can’t imagine that there weren’t some fun mob party memories, some cute family moments, significant childhood and young adult life events, etc. but they were clouded by the power of Hoffa, muting these trivial moments where Sheeran felt so little by comparison, and thus his own narrative is filtered through this man, his idol, the light that blinded the rest of these memories resigning them to the dark corners of apathy, and the time period surrounding this critical emotional and existential connection. Hoffa was the force around which Sheeran experienced all meaning, and that he had not only a participatory part in but
SpoilerShow
directly assassinated this physical manifestation of meaning, taking it from this world (and most importantly his own world), for a meaningless purpose no less
birthed a trauma that he’s never been able to face but clearly poisoned his psyche and accentuated his detachment from life -as well as obstructed his own reliability of providing an objective account of history at this time. Of course all narrators are unreliable and privy to subjectivity- and Scorsese has toyed with this theme throughout many of his films, but here Sheeran’s own role in eliminating that light turned what could have been an idyllic perspective to one of ennui.

Ribs drew comparisons between this and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood... and while I’m assuming he was referring more to the mature thematic scope of the effects of change on an environment and those within it, I was more drawn to the way each film uses a character as an almost divine focal point of exploring this milieu. Hoffa and Tate each serve a role as these shining lights that influenced their social contexts to the point where their personalities spread warmth to others, becoming deities within Tarantino's or Sheeran's (not Scorsese's) stories. The films take different paths in how they are utilized in the process but regardless of their preservation or destruction of this force, the significance of their impact is felt through the notion of loss of each entity, and the effect that this has on other people, but also the entire narratives of the respective pictures, including but not limited to, their validity.

The question here seems to be, given the natural impossibility for one to account events by objective means: if a person is so important that they influence another's perspective to skewed proportions, does it actually make the narrative more authentic? Sheeran's cold world had one spirit breathing life into it, and I'd say no matter how far he intends to bury his own existential pain, there's no force possible that can keep it below the surface or hijacking his worldview. To Sheeran, Hoffa is authenticity. The film doesn't seem to be so much about Sheeran's escapades and his relationship with Hoffa as central to his life, but rather an existentialist reading of the meaninglessness of existence and the meaning we find in other people, if we are lucky, that make life worth living. Regret then comes from abandoning this gift, and despair from the realization that this connection is the most precious experience one can have, that we are only grateful for when it's too late.

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#284 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 2:14 pm

The key exchange comes when Sheeran's daughter reacts to Sheeran saying that he was trying to protect his daughters. The only thing they needed protection from was the lifestyle he decided to get wrapped up in, and all of the politics of his mob entanglements were of substance only to those involved - those outside of it either got pulled in by familial happenstance (Kennedy included) or a mutual desire to exploit the benefits of corruption to serve their aims (Kennedy again, of course, and Hoffa). Sheeran was never forced by anyone to go down the road he did, and that's sort of what this entire 3.5 hour film is attempting to convey - is it worth the toll it takes on your soul to live a dangerous, high stakes, morally dubious life? When lives are literally on the line over everything from the military actions of the President of the United States all the way to meeting arrival times, bickering non-apologies, and wardrobe choices? Is it worth losing your family and your shot at eternal salvation?

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#285 Post by therewillbeblus » Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:15 pm

I agree with that assessment, but the connection to Hoffa feels overwhelmingly present to juxtapose this quality of life. I do think that Hoffa's energy and care was something that the character of Sheeran saw as the ideal, including the strong relationships with his (and Sheeran's) family, and this is part of what highlights the sense of loss for Sheeran as a product of passively floating through life without truly engaging and contesting with the choices on this road. He wasn't forced to go down the path, and that's definitely a passive choice that leads to detrimental consequences, but equally as sad and thematically relevant seems to be his failure to achieve any authenticity by way of self-actualizing. Hoffa knows what he wants and has an identity, a sense of self, and thus he is able to focus on those around him including his family and take action with passion (he's no saint, a flawed man whose flaws defeat him, but a man who lived for what he believed in); while Sheeran never reached self-actualization, and allowed himself to remain in a subdued fog, refusing to face the repercussions of his actions (and non-actions), and this stunted his ability to engage with his family, be faithful to his friend, or act in any way that awareness to his own convictions would bring. Hoffa isn't idolized by Scorsese, as he did many of the same things in your more objective reading of the film- one that Scorsese himself takes, but within the film there's also Sheeran's subjective narrative that does idolize him, and Scorsese strikes an almost impossible balance between these two views that doesn't allow one to undercut the other with poignancy.

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#286 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 7:31 pm

If only there were some drama and conflict to talk about rather than a series of incidents, eh therewillbeblus?

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#287 Post by therewillbeblus » Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:05 pm

Fair enough, I should probably have been clearer in my initial post that I was attempting to challenge Nasir’s comments I disagreed with through reframing the context of his dismissal of the film based on the unglamorous and banal nature of De Niro’s life, which I stand by as intentional and vital to its themes. In Sheeran’s interactions with Hoffa, which is the bulk of the film, there is plenty of “drama and conflict” as well as in the atmosphere of the narrative which only reveals itself subtly as it progresses and with a wallop when taken as a whole, but not on the surface, which how I interpreted Nasir’s comments. The presentation of a series of incidents with a lack of romanticized attachment to them only fuels the internal conflict that permeates the rest of the film and is set ablaze by the emotional charge of Hoffa and the last act.

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#288 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Nov 14, 2019 1:55 pm

Ty Burr's review supports a blend between my reading and mfunk's (as well as nitin's about the unreliable narration), in how the banality Nasir critiqued is utilized effectively over time to create a unique kind of conflict, singling out Pacino's Hoffa as the only "alive" figure by which to contrast the rest. His point about the overlooked significance of Sheeran's daughter Peggy as the movie's moral center is rather insightful. Overall a worthy read. I've spoilerboxed sections here:
SpoilerShow
There’s none of the brio of “Goodfellas” or the Vegas pizzazz of “Casino” — no showoff Steadicam trips through the Copacabana. The filmmaking here is quietly observant, verging on blandness. “The Irishman” is all business, yet in its very granularity and the ease with which Scorsese puts it all on film, the movie’s utterly absorbing.

Eventually a door opens in the story and Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino) walks in. He’s the head of the Teamsters, a nationally known figure, and he’s everything men like Frank and Russell are not: loud, outgoing, easy to rile. Your best friend or your worst enemy. One of Frank’s young daughters, Peggy (Lucy Gallina), takes an immediate shine to him, and she doesn’t like anybody.

“The Irishman” is about male friendship, among other things — about the difference between acquaintance and something deeper. About how a man like Frank can betray an acquaintance and go about his day — because he’s a sociopath — while a more meaningful connection might foul up his radar. But you only see that through the movie’s cracks, which widen as the running time and the years roll on.

You should take the book’s contents and Sheeran’s claims with a cargo container of salt; many people have. But Scorsese isn’t interested in whether this “really happened,” or where Jimmy Hoffa went when he disappeared off the face of the Earth in July 1975. I don’t even think he cares that Pacino doesn’t much resemble the real Hoffa. He wants us to see the slow erasure of humanity in the title character and his colleagues, and to consider how men who have no conscience aren’t actually alive — can’t even be called men at all.

This is why Peggy shrinks from people like Bufalino and even her own father: She correctly senses they’re dead inside. Some of the early reviews for “The Irishman” have dwelled on the fact that women are largely absent from the film and that the most important female character has hardly any lines of dialogue. But Peggy, who’s played as a grown woman by Anna Paquin, doesn’t need to say anything to become the moral center of this movie. As a child she has seen Frank beat a neighborhood grocer to a pulp for daring to chastise the girl; she has seen him pack his gun for “business trips.” We are meant to look at him through her eyes, and in that look is a judgment even Frank can’t hide from.

As is common in a Scorsese gangster movie, “The Irishman” often stops what it’s doing to introduce us to one made man or another, their names and crimes identified in onscreen type. This time, though, we learn the dates and manners of their demises as well, because this is a movie in which death stalks us all. The final moments are both pitiless and some of the most emotionally devastating in Scorsese’s catalog, as age and infirmity cut out the legs from under men who once thought they were invincible, and even an insensate hulk like Frank Sheeran has to look around, see he’s alone, and try to come to terms with his sins. He’s hoping to negotiate with God. The silence Scorsese leaves hanging on the other end of the line may pursue you for a long, long time to come.

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#289 Post by FrauBlucher » Sat Nov 16, 2019 10:12 pm

Scorsese at AFI Fest Friday evening

This is a great nugget about him never worked with Al Pacino before this. Which I find amazing after all these years.
“I’d been wanting to work with Al for years. Francis Coppola introduced me to him in 1970. Then he’s in ‘Godfather’ one and two, and he’s in the stratosphere,” Scorsese said. “For me, Al was always something unreachable. We even tried to make a film in the 1980s but couldn’t get the financing for it. I said, ‘What’s he like to work with?’ Bob said, ‘Oh, he’s great. You’ll see.'”

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#290 Post by Nasir007 » Mon Nov 18, 2019 10:23 am

Another claim about the disappearance of Hoffa - central to the premise of the book (and in turn the movie).

I don't know what is people's take on the historicity of Sheeran's account but the fact that it has been more or less largely debunked by several news reports and articles discussing the historical events prevents me from investing in his take or taking it seriously. It essentially amounts to the ravings of a senile old man.

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#291 Post by nitin » Mon Nov 18, 2019 10:39 am

I am not sure if you are deliberately missing the point of the movie or just can’t get past the surface level plot to take in the rest. It never pretends or claims to be a historically correct account of what happened to Hoffa, in fact it really isn’t about what happened to Hoffa apart from as a surface level plot point.

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#292 Post by MichaelB » Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:00 am

And "the ravings of a senile old man" is a perfectly legitimate take on the film, in the grand centuries-old tradition of the unreliable narrator. It never remotely mattered to me whether Sheeran's story was factually accurate - he clearly felt that it was, and that in itself is hugely revealing.

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#293 Post by Fiery Angel » Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:37 am

see Amadeus, for one

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#294 Post by MichaelB » Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:40 am

Indeed - and I like to think that Peter Shaffer deliberately made the screenplay even less historically accurate than the original stage play just to underscore that point!

Incidentally, I once saw Amadeus in dubbed Italian, and felt that it worked remarkably well - what with that being the language that Salieri would have presumably used to narrate the story originally.

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#295 Post by willoneill » Mon Nov 18, 2019 2:09 pm

I saw The Irishman on Friday night, and re-watched Danny Devito's Hoffa on Saturday. Between both films there's exactly three identically-named characters: Hoffa, Hoffa's successor Frank Fitzsimmons, and RFK. With regards to Jimmy Hoffa, the two seem to be almost telling completely different stories with almost no similar scenes (RFK's deposition of Hoffa being a notable exception). If that's not a perfect indication that Hollywood biopics are all pretty much bullshit, facts-wise, I don't know what it is. But they're not supposed to be documentaries, right?

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#296 Post by Fiery Angel » Mon Nov 18, 2019 2:39 pm

willoneill wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 2:09 pm
If that's not a perfect indication that Hollywood biopics are all pretty much bullshit, facts-wise, I don't know what it is. But they're not supposed to be documentaries, right?
Are you joking or serious?

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#297 Post by willoneill » Mon Nov 18, 2019 3:52 pm

Dead serious. A dead as Jimmy Hoffa ;)

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Never Cursed
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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#298 Post by Never Cursed » Mon Nov 18, 2019 4:53 pm

The two films are two entirely divergent tellings of the tale, though. The DeVito film's events are only loosely based on Hoffa's life, and I get the impression that Mamet didn't particularly care about fine-details accuracy or the "real" solution to Hoffa's disappearance. The Irishman is sourced from something (Frank Sheeran's account of the second half of Hoffa's life) with a wildly different scope and focal point, so it's no wonder that it has little in common with the DeVito film. None of this makes either of the films "bullshit" with regards to the facts (MichaelB is entirely right here in that it doesn't really matter if the story is literally accurate), it just means that they're trying for different things. I don't know why anyone would go to any biopic, Hollywood or otherwise, to get a comprehensively factual portrayal of any story - embellishments of a person's life story in art are as old as the written word itself and do not make those works, old or new, any more or less "bullshit."

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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#299 Post by MichaelB » Mon Nov 18, 2019 5:08 pm

Shakespeare's history plays aren't regarded as rigorously evidence-backed reconstructions either. Indeed, Richard III may be one of the most successful pieces of fake news ever created - I doubt the Tudors whose propaganda Shakespeare helpfully dramatised ever imagined that it would still be the dominant interpretation of Richard's life more than 400 years later.

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willoneill
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Re: The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)

#300 Post by willoneill » Mon Nov 18, 2019 8:57 pm

Just to clarify, I meant that pretty much all biopics are bullshit in terms of having any semblance of factual accuracy, not in terms of their quality as films. I actually tend to enjoy most of the ones I watch.

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