The Irishman. Review + Netflix Films in Cinemas

I will admit to not having seen any of Scorsese’s classic work but I’ve seen everything released over the last 10 years and to be honest none of it has really connected with me me. Wolf of Wall Street is entertaining if very vapid and and the first half of Hugo is absolutely wonderful before the second half turns into a boring lecture on film preservation. That said when my local independent cinema announced announced it was playing Netflix films starting in November this and Marriage Story were the ones I was most interested in in having seen both get nothing but rave reviews. Did the film live up to the hype.
Definitely. Don’t get me wrong the film is absolutely amazing but if you’re going in expecting some level of mafia epic this film isn’t going to be what you’re looking for. It’s much more of a low key character drama but it’s all the better for it. The central performances (especially from Robert De Niro Who who I’ve never seen be this good in recent memory) are absolutely incredible but the script from Steven Zaillian deserves a huge amount of credit for always maintaining focus on the central narrative and characters. The film plays a little bit like a feature length cut of a miniseries at times but it never diverts it’s attention for an extended period of time.
It’s worth noting that I have been lucky enough to see the film twice in the cinema. I went to the first screening on Friday November 15th and I honestly haven’t seen a non-event screaming at this particular cinema that busy in years. It was heartwarming to see especially since the cinema has been under threat of closure twice in the last 10 years. I went and saw it again on the day it released to Netflix audiences (the 27th) and there was still a solid crowd for an afternoon screening considering the film had been playing twice a day in that screen for the previous two weeks. I’ve always been a big advocate for the big screen over streaming and I think if Netflix is selective with what movies it gives the theatrical push there is a solid audience for streaming films on the big screen. As something of a counterpoint I went and saw a weekday morning screening of Marriage Story and there were only a few people in the cinema. That said it’s hard to predict how that sort of film would do in an environment where it adhered to the typical theatrical distribution window.
The film absolutely delivers on its hype. Expertly performed and and massively engrossing from start to finish it’s the kind of drama that I thought what was pretty much exclusive to TV and streaming in 2019 (I appreciate there is a level of irony in that statement.) The running time may put some audiences off but trust me when I say this is an absolute must watch and a potential future classic (especially on Netflix where air bathroom breaks aren’t an issue)

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