The Irishman was a long time coming, but was finally released in selected theaters on November 1, 2019. The coverage wasn’t vast though, and those unfortunate enough to live at too far a distance from the nearest screening had to wait almost a full month before it was released on streaming site Netflix. It was premiered at New York Film Festival on September 27, 2019, to massive critical acclaim.
The Irishman is based on a book by Charles Brandt called ‘I Heard You Paint Houses’ in which Frank Sheeran, an American labor union official, talks about his life and ties to organized crime. He allegedly had links to the Bufalino crime family, whilst being a high-ranking official in the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and was reputedly a leading figure in union corruption by organized crime. Sheeran was first introduced to Jimmy Hoffa through their mutual acquaintance, Russell Bufalino. According to the book, Hoffa’s first words to Sheeran were ”I heard you paint houses,” which is a reference to the fact that he killed people. Sheeran’s reply was ” I do my own carpentry work too,” which referred to the fact he would also dispose of the bodies. Frank Sheeran was later to ‘confess’ on his deathbed that he was the one who killed Jimmy Hoffa.
Director, Martin Scorcese assembled some huge names for The Irishman, including Robert DeNiro as Sheeran, Al Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa, Joe Pesci (who came out of retirement especially for this role) as Russell Bufalino and Harvey Keitel as Angelo Bruno. There is also some archive footage of John F. Kennedy… obviously as himself!
The running time for the movie is a massive 209 minutes, though most critics have agreed that it doesn’t seem that long as it’s that good…with many describing it as a masterpiece. Though there are many questions and obvious doubts regarding the real-life ‘deathbed confession’ of Frank Sheeran, this shouldn’t detract from the movie. It is what it is – a movie!
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