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Stars collab for a classic mafia spectacle

By Michael Connor

From classic mafia films such as Goodfellas and Casino to modern blockbusters such as The Wolf of Wall Street, Martin Scorsese is one of the most celebrated and iconic film directors of all time. On Wednesday, Nov. 27, Netflix will take a massive gamble on the legendary filmmaker with the release of his most recent epic, The Irishman

The Irishman is an “A list” spectacle featuring Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, and Joe Pesci and will be the first collaboration between Scorsese and the film’s well-known stars in over 20 years. The last time Scorsese, DeNiro, and Pesci worked on a film together was Casino, which was released back in 1995.

The Irishman is about Frank Sheeran (Robert DeNiro) and his involvement with the Bufalino crime family and his relationship with famed labor union leader, Jimmy Hoffa. An elder Sheeran reflects on his life and career throughout the film. 

According to The Wall Street Journal, many Hollywood film distributors rejected The Irishman as its budget had escalated significantly due to visual effects costs and viewed a drama film too much of a risk to pursue at such a budget. Netflix was the one distributor who took a risk on Scorsese’s 173-200 million dollar vision. Hopefully, the risk will pay off as the film will attract many fans of both Scorsese and its cast. 

The Irishman, if reviewed positively among critics and viewers, will show Netflix’s desire to create valuable and high-quality entertainment. Netflix’s original content has continued to grow and exclusive original content has become a massive priority for the streaming giant. The Irishman will be one of Netflix’s first original blockbuster films and has the potential to push the standard for direct-to-consumer entertainment. 

The Irishman excites me greatly. I think it will be an impressive strategic move for Netflix and its original content-driven platform. Additionally, for me and many other fans, it is an exciting event that is a reunion of timeless actors with an iconic director.

Three of my all-time favorite actors will be in a film together, and to top it off, the film was developed and helmed by my all-time favorite director. It’s undoubtedly an appealing deal as a devout fan. 

One of the innovative elements of the upcoming film is advanced de-aging visual effects. DeNiro, Pesci, and Pacino’s characters will be seen in various stages of their lives and fans will once again get to see youthful versions of their favorite actors. 

Each entertainer is well into his 70’s, so they’re all of considerable age. One of the reasons why this film has the potential to be such a landmark film is because a reunion of these classic actors is a treat and an unexpected gift to fans. 

The Irishman, in Scorsese fashion, will be lengthy at a runtime of three hours and thirty minutes. One will have to set aside an evening to fully embrace and enjoy the film. Many Scorsese films are “epic” in scale, and The Irishman is no exception. Maybe one day The Irishman will become a modern classic itself. Only time will tell. 

One thing is for certain, The Irishman is a unique step forward for Netflix and has already built up buzz throughout its production and its Friday, Nov. 1 premiere. Many early reviews were extremely positive. 

The Wall Street Journal described it as “a haunting masterpiece” and praised the “sumptuous quality of the production”. 

Netflix has not only focused on quality projects, but has been interested in award season. Roma, which was released last year, was an Academy Award nominated film. The Irishman is another opportunity for Netflix to prove it can oversee the creation of blockbuster, critically acclaimed films and compete directly with Hollywood’s theatrical projects. 

Wednesday, Nov. 27 cannot come soon enough. I have been waiting years for this film since I learned of its development. 2019 has been an exciting year for Netflix, yet with the additions of Disney+ and Apple TV+ this month, The Irishman will be a differentiating and competitive direction for the company.

Michael Connor can be reached at Michael.connor@spartans.ut.edu

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