Opening 14 Nov 2019
Based on the 2004 book by Charles Brandt, 'I heard you paint houses', Martin Scorsese directed this epic saga of hitman Frank 'The Irishman' Sheeran (Robert de Niro), his connections to the mob and organised crime, and in particular his association with Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino), the famous labor union leader who was President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and mysteriously vanished in July 1975, never to be found. The story is told by Frank Sheeran, now in an old-age home, looking back on his life. We see Sheeran in the army during WWII, doing service in Italy, 'getting his job done', and then, in the early 50's, as a truck driver in Philadelphia, where, by accident, he meets mobster Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) at a gas station. Bufalino becomes his life-long mentor in the world of organized crime and is the one to introduce him to Hoffa, who is looking for somebody to do get 'things done' for him. We see Sheeran living in his parallel worlds, here as the hitman, there as the family man. His first wife, and then his second one, although worried about his mysterious jobs and shady connections, choose to look the other way, but not so his daughter Peggy (Anna Paquin as the older Peggy), who refuses to warm up to 'Uncle Russell', always keeping her distance, and - to Sheeran's greatest chagrin - never speaks another word with her father after the sudden disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa.
In the three and half hours running time, which at no point seems a minute too long, more than 50 years are covered. However, thanks to special visual effects that Scorsese employs, de Niro, Pacino and Pesci all keep playing their parts as younger and older men. The brilliant cast, starring four Academy Award winners, is delivering more Oscar-worthy performances. This masterpiece of an epic movie is at the same time dramatic, gripping, funny, melancholic - maybe it is even Scorsese's best movie ever. (Ulrike Lemke)