Scorsese Scores Again


Martin Scorsese’s latest film, “The Irishman,” was recently nominated for ten Academy Awards, five Golden Globes, and ten BAFTA awards. As of now, the film has received 307 award nominations and won 58 of them. The film is based on the true story of Frank Sheeran, a Pennsylvanian truck driver who becomes part of a crime family. Scorsese mainly selects movies with a true story behind it. This is evident through “Goodfellas” (1990), based on Henry Hill, “Wolf of Wall Street” (2013), based on Jordan Belford, and “Casino” (1995), based on Frank Rosenthal His most recent film, “The Irishman” follow the true events of Frank Sheeran, Jimmy Hoffa, and Russel Bufalino.

Did Scorsese cast the right actors for their roles? For the most part, each actor played their role perfectly. The first main actor in the film was Al Pachino playing the infamous Jimmy Hoffa. Hoffa was a labour union leader who meddled in politics. To government officials, Hoffa was meant to be seen as a radical. To lower ranking people, he was meant to be seen as a savior who would fulfill all their hopes and wishes. The film did a great job in showing both angles of this political race. At times, the film would show government officials conversing negatively about Hoffa, in a way that seemed to portray him as reformist for the worst. The other moments showed Hoffa as more of a saint who would satisfy the public’s needs. Personally, I think Pacino’s best acting took place when he was alone with only Sheeran. Only then would Hoffa be portrayed as a “good guy.” He wasn’t either of the personalities the people portrayed him as. He was himself, a person who wanted the best. We see later that Pacino’s acting was the only thing that covered up Hoffa’s true intentions. Pacino’s mafia role has been astonishing ever since he played Micheal Corleone in the “Godfather.”

Similarly, Robert De Niro has also been spectacular since his role as Vito Corleone in the “Godfather.” De Niro plays Frank Sheeran in “The Irishman.” Sheeran was developed to be a confident, ruthless, and loyal hitman. His catchphrase was, “I heard you paint houses.” The paint refers to the blood splatter on the walls after someone was killed. Although this may be true ,we see De Niro play Sheeran as a slightly compassionate and hesitant guy during the end of his reign. I believe this was more accurate as it showed more human in Sheeran. De Niro’s acting as a young Sheeran was equally fantastic. The young Sheeran was untested and willing to prove his loyalty to the Bufalino crime family. He eventually proved his loyalty which gave him the ability to move up in ranks in the crime family. De Niro’s confident acting portrayed young Sheeran as he was meant to be, phlegmatic and ready to do anything.

Finally, we see Joe Pesci play the one and only Russel Bufalino. Bufalino was probably the hardest character to read in the film. He kept most of his thoughts to himself and wasn’t very outgoing. Pesci played this role flawlessly. In past Scorese movies, Pesci played loud and ambitious characters. The role of Bufalino may have been the hardest to play as he expressed the most emotion while being the least approachable.

An issue with the film that connected with the acting was the CGI. The film flipped back and forth from the past and present. This required young and old characters. At this point, De Niro was 76, Pesci was 76, and Pacino was 79. They were meant to look like they were 20 to 30. The production staff spent lots of money on the CGI age generator but it didn’t work as well as it could have. This affected the way you perceive each character. Overall, the plot was intense with many twists and turns every time you think you know a character. One issue I could see as problematic was the number of characters. The film introduced many characters without giving an explanation of who they are and why they are important. Due to Scorsese’s casting for the film, the plot, and the true story behind it, “The Irishman” became a nominee for the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture.