“The Irishman” opened in select theaters Nov. 1 and will be available to stream on Netflix beginning Nov. 27. The much-anticipated film, an Oscar hopeful, reuniting the legends of Hollywood, Joe Pesci, Al Pacino, and Robert De Niro, will not disappoint viewers with its dramatic ease, thoughtful detail, and engaging storyline all based on the true crime novel “I Heard You Paint Houses” by Charles Brandt.
Ed Sheeran (De Niro), a known Mafia right hand man of Mafia boss Russell Bufalino (Pesci) is a complicated story recounting Sheeran’s life over a period of five decades culminating with the answers to the disappearance of Teamster leader Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino). At the heart of this familiar yet fresh story of the mob lies the common themes of loyalty, love, and betrayal; attributes we can all relate to and connect with.
Attending the Los Angeles premiere of “The Irishman” at the iconic TCL Chinese Theater, the all-star cast walked the red carpet and once inside, welcomed the audiences now seated in two filled-to-capacity rooms.
Director Martin Scorsese introduced the film to an excited audience filled with critics who would spend the next three and a half hours mesmerized by a complicated story where somehow we are able to feel a connection and sympathy if not empathy for our lead character and hitman, The Irishman.
A press conference followed the next day where De Niro, Pacino and Scorsese capitulated about life, filmmaking, and their work impacting social issues. Reportedly, Scorsese was not initially planning to participate in the press conference, but after his reception at the film, he was so moved by the critics’ responses that he decided to attend.
The three men thoughtfully answered the questions from the critics in the audience, reflecting upon a lifetime of work and the film industry’s technological advances. It was obvious from the first question, randomly chosen, that the critics were in awe of their subjects before them.
It’s not often that you have a chance to see and ask a question of some of the most formidable and talented people in the industry.
De Niro and Scorsese were relaxed and casually answered questions, however, it was Pacino who stole the show, sharing “parables” and encouraging all to grab a pillow while he told his tales. His energy and enthusiasm was contagious as everyone sat on the edge of their seats, hanging on his every word.
Pacino was on center stage, seeming to enjoy every moment. Whipping off his shaded glasses to expressively tell his memories, bolting up from his chair and peering around a make-believe pulpit, Pacino reminisced about a “failed” performance of King Richard. But it was one question about playing opposite roles in this film that created a moment that Pacino seemed to have been waiting for.
This was his chance to finally tell a story about playing “Hickey” from “The Iceman Cometh” in the voice and persona of King Richard and vice versa. His serpentine storytelling style elicited laughter from his colleagues seated next to him and the audience alike. This was a true performance.
As Netflix bucks the autocratic system and finds new ways of bowling through roadblocks set to deter competition in the Academy Awards race, this film, opening on the requisite screens prior to Oscar, is sure to be a front-runner in many different categories.