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The Irishman


Now in his old age, WWII veteran and former mafia hitman Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) reflects on the moments that defined his mob career, especially his role in the 1975 disappearance and murder of Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino) in the latest gangster epic from master filmmaker Martin Scorsese.

"Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” is a coldly enthralling, long-form knockout — a majestic Mob epic with ice in its veins. It’s the film that, I think, a lot us wanted to see from Scorsese: a stately, ominous, suck-in-your-breath summing up, not just a drama but a reckoning, a vision of the criminal underworld that’s rippling with echoes of the director’s previous Mob films, but that also takes us someplace bold and new.

Scorsese, working from a script by Steven Zaillian (who adapted the 2004 memoir “I Heard You Paint Houses”), tells the true story of Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro), a World War II veteran and unassuming truck driver who, in the 1950s, finds himself drawn into the orbit of Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci), the elegant and sinister boss of the Pennsylvania-based Bufalino crime family. Sheeran, who became a trusted Mob soldier and hitman, had many assignments, and one of them was to go to work for Jimmy Hoffa (played, in the film’s most extraordinary performance, by Al Pacino), whose Teamsters Union was mired in underworld connections. For years, Sheeran served as Hoffa’s right-hand thug, and then, according to Sheeran, he was the one given the order to whack Hoffa (though the labor leader’s sudden disappearance in 1975 has never been officially solved).

Scorsese turns this saga into a vast American canvas of greed, violence, ambition, politics, and corruption. The backroom string-pulling, the casual executions, the murderous muscle flexed with a terse euphemism (“I’m a little bit concerned…”) — we’ve seen much of this before. But Scorsese’s 1990 landmark “GoodFellas” was a Mob diary staged to feel like a party; without falsifying what it showed us (if anything, the film made it look more genuine than it had ever looked in the movies before), “GoodFellas” asked us to revel in the thrilling amorality of easy money, fast pleasure, and quicker brutality, even as we confronted the sometimes horrific consequences. “The Irishman” presents Mob life as a far more solemnly unromantic and toll-taking experience. A film of masterly hushed precision, it digs deep into the nub of its subject, which is the dark heart of power. " - Variety 

"“The Irishman” is Martin Scorsese’s best crime movie since “Goodfellas,” and a pure, unbridled illustration of what has made his filmmaking voice so distinctive for nearly 50 years. Forget that it’s a touch too long and the much-ballyhooed de-aging technology doesn’t always cast a perfect spell; the movie zips along at such a satisfying clip that its flaws rarely amount to more than mild speed bumps along the way.

De Niro’s always at his best in the context of a Scorsese-mandated tough-guy routine, and Frank Sheeran gives the actor his most satisfying lead role in years. Sheeran appears in virtually every scene, and the story belongs to his colorful worldview the entire time. He may be an aging man telling tall tales, but that puts him in the same category as the one behind the camera. Sheeran, however, lost touch with his world long before he left it. With “The Irishman,” Scorsese proves he’s more alive than ever." - Indiewire

"At 3 ¹/₂ hours, the Frank Sheeran-Jimmy Hoffa biopic is not only the longest film of Scorsese’s career, but the longest studio movie of the decade. Well, chug a 5-hour Energy, because the terrific “Irishman” deserves your full, un-fatigued attention. 4/4*" - New York Post

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Directed by: 
Martin Scorsese
Running Time: 
Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci
Screenplay by: 
Charles Brandt (book), Steven Zaillian

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