Review of The Irishman

The Irishman Scott Cooper Florida

The Irishman Review

The Irishman (2019) is an American crime movie produced and directed by Martin Scorsese. Steven Zaillian write the screenplay based on a Charles Brandt book, I Heard You Paint Houses.

Starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino, the movie follows Frank Sheeran, a truck driver played by De Niro. Sheeran goes on to become a mob hitman working with Russell Bufalino (Pesci). The action also outlines his work with Teamster, Jimmy Hoffa, a role played by Pacino.

The film spent years languishing in development until September 2014 when Scorsese announced it would be the next film he shot after 2016’s Silence.” said film critic Scott Cooper Florida.

The Irishman Robert Deniro

Thre Irishman Plot

Frank Sheeran, an elderly WWII veteran, is in a nursing home in a wheelchair. He tells the story of his life as a crime syndicate hitman.

Sheeran was a delivery driver in Philadelphia in the 50s. He starts selling some of his shipments to Skinny Razor, a local gang boss and a member of Angelo Bruno’s crime family. Sheeran is accused of theft by the company he works for. Bill Bufalino, a union lawyer, has the case thrown out of court.

Bufalino then introduces Sheeran to his cousin Russell who heads up a crime family from Pennsylvania. Sheeran starts working for Russell and other members of the underworld, including contract killing, euphemistically described as painting houses.

Russell introduces Sheeran to the Teamster head, Jimmy Hoffa. Hoffa has financial links with the crime family. He’s being pressured by the federal government, and he is also experiencing problems with Tony Pro, the rising Teamster. Hoffa gets close to Sheeran and his family. Sheeran starts acting as Hoffa’s primary bodyguard.

John F. Kennedy is elected President of the United States in 1960. While Russell is delighted, Hoffa is absolutely livid. Robert Kennedy, JFK’s brother, organizes a “Get Hoffa” squad. Hoffa is arrested in 1964 and convicted on charges of jury tampering.

While jailed, Hoffa is replaced by Frank “Fitz” Fitzsimmons. Fitz soon starts spending the pension fund and he also starts loaning money to the nob interest-free. Hoffa’s relationship with Tony Pro unravels irreparably.

President Nixon commutes Hoffa’s sentence in 1971, although he’s still banned from engaging in any Teamster activities for the rest of the decade.

Hoffa violates his parole terms and attempts to regain his position leading the Teamsters. Russell becomes increasingly concerned about Hoffa’s behavior and actions. At a dinner held in Sheeran’s honor, Russell tells Sheeran to inform Hoffa the crime bosses are unhappy with his behavior. Hoffa tells Sheeran he is aware of certain things that neither Russell nor the bosses realize he knows. He goes on to claim that he’s untouchable and that everyone would be jailed if anything happened to him.

The action moves to 1975. Sheeran and Russell are en route to a wedding when Russell informs Sheeran he needs to kill Hoffa. Sheeran flies to Detroit. Hoffa is surprised when Sheeran arrives late with gangster Sally Bugs and Hoffa’s unwitting foster son in tow.

They adjourn to an empty house where Sheeran shoots Hoffa twice then leaves the gun on the dead body. Two subordinates dispose of the body.

The investigation into Hoffa’s disappearance fizzles out but the main characters are all arrested on various unrelated charges during a grand jury investigation.

Once released from jail, Sheeran ends up in a nursing home. His daughters cut him off suspecting his involvement in Hoffa’s disappearance.

The Irishman Al Pacino


Scorsese mentioned in an interview with The Guardian that he started thinking about this project back in the 1980s. He added that he had talked about the project for years with Robert De Niro. He took a project to De Niro about an aging hitman but it stalled.

After reading I Heard You Paint Houses in 2004, De Niro reignited their old discussion.

The Irishman moved into development in 2007. Rewrites and new plot developments took Scorsese’s attention elsewhere and he went on to direct three more films before recommitting to The Irishman.

The Irishman Movie


The Irishman opened at 8 theaters in New York City and Los Angeles on November 1, 2019, grossing a total of $350,000.

The following weekend, the film was released in 22 theaters and made $440,000.

The Irishman grossed $7 million in North America and $8 million worldwide making it Netflix’s most successful theatrical release.

Critical response

On review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 96%

On Metacritic, the film scores of 94 out of 100, indicating “universal acclaim”.

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