So ... I heard you paint houses: The Irishman review

2020-01-05 00:15

The Irishman


Available on Netflix SA

This movie gave me my most enjoyable three and a half hours by far. One of the greatest directors of our time, Martin Scorsese, has cut us a direct-to-television film, and I dare to say that he and the astounding cast are in line for a few awards for The Irishman.

Strangely, Al Pacino, who plays Jimmy Hoffa in the film, has not worked with Scorsese before, but thank goodness they finally did in this masterpiece.

The man has a modus operandi you can call from a mile away. For instance, someone mentions a possible car bomb, then there’s a quick switch from the dialogue to visuals of an old-school Buick blowing up on a dark evening and then a quick cut back to the conversation.

This is simple but sheer cinematic genius, and the supporting and cameo roles Scorsese has included are amazing.

Ray Romano, who is best known for his role in the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, has elevated his career by portraying a lawyer named Bill Bufalino. We should also salute Bobby Cannavale, who played a police officer in the original Will & Grace TV series, in which he had the hots for Will. This man has since added the grungy HBO banger series Vinyl and now The Irishman to his list of accomplishments.

He deserves the most improved actor award from when we first saw him in Will & Grace.

This story is carefully lifted from Charles Brandt’s 2004 book, I Heard You Paint Houses. It is dark and unlike Scorsese’s last film, 2016’s Silence, which involved laborious dialogue and none of that hardcore action we have come to expect from him.

The plot revolves around a truck driver named Frank (Robert De Niro) as he begins to feel the pressure of properly supporting his family, so he starts to use his position to cut corners on deliveries.

Frank becomes known for doing the odd favour or two for people of influence, which sees him link up with Russ (Joe Pesci), a member of a crime family, who helps him climb the ranks of organised crime.

He begins to “paint houses”, and it is this work that sees him cross paths with Hoffa, a union man who is not opposed to bending the rules now and then.

This movie is Scorsese’s return to the limelight, and he did it for Netflix.

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April 5 2020