FOR any other director, the film would be a centrepiece. For Scorsese, its just another entry into a formidable catalogue. The Irishman is a great film.

For any other film maker, it would potentially be the centrepiece of their career. And that is before one takes stock of an ensemble cast featuring the likes of Robert DeNiro, AI Pacino and Joe Pesci, all one pint with their performance.

For a director of Martin Scorsese's stature, however, the film somehow appears a rather inconsequential entry into a formidable catalogue.

Considering that his previous film, 2016's Silence, may well be the finest film of the decade, his latest feels more a retread of familiar terrain than a return to titanic form.

From trailers and snippets, one would be easily led to believe that The Irishman is centred around the real life figure of Frank Sheeran [DeNiro] a controversial American labour union official with links to the Italian American underworld. After all his nickname does provide the film with its title.

In actuality, however, Sheeran seems more a narrator and POV character than the true protagonist.

The meat of the story revolves around the nexus between the Mafia and what was once the largest union in the United States, and the supposed truth behind the disappearance of the latter's superstar leader, Jimmy Hoffa.

Overshadowed in current consciousness, by the assassination of John F Kennedy and his brother Robert, Hoofa's vanishing was no less enigmatic at the time and sparked a similar number of conspiracy theories.

Scorsese's style of presentation in The Irishman borrows from his previous collaborations with DeNiro, which catapulted both of them to stardom. The confessional style in which Sheeran delivers much of his narration harkens back to Raging Bull, as do the age-bending effects on play.

Where raging Bull saw deNiro pack up a lot of weight to play an older Jake LaMotta reminiscing on his past, in The Irishman, Scorsese uses CGI-aided de-aging techniques heavily to portray a younger version of Sheeran.

The World Students Society thanks author Zeeshan Ahmad.


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