The Irishman is a Martin Scorcese film released on Netflix late November 2019. It stars Robert De Niro as Frank Sheeran, Joe Pesci as Russell Buffalino, and Al Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa. It is based on the novel, “I Heard You Paint Houses” by Charles Brandt, a 2004 narrative nonfiction.
Charles Brandt was a former prosecutor, investigator, and defense attorney. His novel was about the life of Frank Sheeran, a truck driver turned hitman of Russell Buffalino during the ‘50s and then bodyguard of Jimmy Hoffa during the ‘60s.
The film starts with Frank Sheeran in a wheelchair in a nursing home, talking to someone about his life during and after the war. Generally, the movie is more on flashbacks as this was told by an old man.
After the war, Frank started working as a truck driver delivering meat. He got into trouble when he was accused of theft. But his lawyer, Bill Buffalino, got him off.
Bill introduced Frank to his cousin, Russell Buffalino, a mob leader in the Pennsylvania area. Frank and Russell became close right after that. Soon, Frank became a hitman and was dubbed as “The Irishman” by the mob for being an Irish Catholic.
Later on, Russell introduced Frank to Jimmy Hoffa, a well-known labor union leader. The phone conversation between Frank and Jimmy became the book’s title, “I Heard You Paint Houses”. It was a code within the mob which means “I heard you kill people” and the “paint” means the blood that splatters on the walls or floors when bullets are fired into a body. Eventually, Frank became Jimmy’s bodyguard.
The film shows the life within the mob and the politically-inclined labor union — the corruption, the politics, the mob, the labor union, and how everything else connects with each other. While watching the film, you’ll be drawn back in time with its late ’50s to early ’80s feel. In a separate Netflix special, Martin Scorcese revealed that he used CGI to make the actors younger, instead of hiring younger actors to play the part.
Having these three veteran actors plus an award-winning film director in one movie is already a treat. Never mind the 3 hours 48 minutes, the whole story deserved that length. At first, one may think that the Taxi Driver meets Goodfellas and then The Godfather. But this is based from a true story and Sheeran’s actions may have answered Hoffa’s long-unsolved disappearance.
Overall, I’m giving this film 5 out of 5 stars.