The Irishman Review Roundup -- Here's What The Critics Are Saying

The Irishman is Martin Scorsese's newest hit.


Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese has been in the headlines a lot lately for his comments about superhero movies, but he is of course known for more than his stance on Marvel films. His newest movie, The Irishman, comes to Netflix on Wednesday, November 27 in the United States. To help you decide if it's worth your time, we're collecting excerpts from reviews into a roundup so you can get a glimpse at the critical reception quickly.

The Irishman tells the story of Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran, a hitman struggling to survive in a story involving the mysterious disappearance of teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa in the 1970s. Robert DeNiro plays Sheeran while Al Pacino portrays Hoffa. Joe Pesci also stars.

The movie is a reunion of sorts, as DeNiro and Pesci starred in Scorsese's acclaimed mobster movies Goodfellas and Casino. The Irishman is based on the book "I Heard Your Paint Houses" by Charles Brandt, and it had been in the works for nine years before finally getting made.

The film tells some of its story through flashbacks featuring digitally de-aged versions of DeNiro and Pesci. The production crew used special cameras for these scenes, which were then sent to Star Wars effects studio Industrial Light & Magic for the de-aging process.

The Irishman was no small undertaking, as it reportedly carried a production budget of $175 million, and that's before marketing expenses are factored in. It is also a behemoth of a film in terms of length, clocking in at a mighty 209 minutes, or 3 hours and 48 minutes.

The movie has been playing in select theatres around the world since November 1, though it is set to premiere on November 27 on Netflix.

Getting to the reviews, GameSpot praised The Irishman highly. GameSpot reviewer Dan Auty called The Irishman a "mature and dignified work that could only be made by an older filmmaker able to look back on his life and his work." Our review said DeNiro, Pesci, and Pacino turn in brilliant performances, while also praising the impressive visual style.

Across the board, reviews are strong for The Irishman. It boasts an impressive 94 rating on GameSpot sister site Metacritic, which is among the highest of any movie in 2019. It has so far collected more than a dozen perfect scores.

The Irishman

  • Directed By: Martin Scorsese
  • Written By: Steven Zaillian (screenplay) based on the Charles Brandt book "I Heard You Paint Houses."
  • Starring: Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci, Al Pacino, Anna Paquin, Jesse Plemons, Harvey Keitel, and Ray Romano.
  • Release Date: November 27 (Netflix)


"It feels like a career summation, a mature and dignified work that could only be made by an older filmmaker able to look back on his life and his work. And while Frank Sheeran is left as an old man filled only with shame and regret, Scorsese proves that his powers as a filmmaker remain at full strength." -- Dan Auty [Full review]

The Boston Globe

"The final moments are both pitiless and some of the most emotionally devastating in Scorsese's catalog, as age and infirmity cut out the legs from under men who once thought they were invincible, and even an insensate hulk like Frank Sheeran has to look around, see he’s alone, and try to come to terms with his sins. He's hoping to negotiate with God. The silence Scorsese leaves hanging on the other end of the line may pursue you for a long, long time to come." -- Ty Burr [Full review]

The Hollywood Reporter

"Netflix should be commended for providing one of our most celebrated filmmakers the resources to revisit narrative turf adjacent to some of his best movies. But the feeling remains that the material would have been better served by losing an hour or more to run at standard feature length, or bulking up on supporting-character and plot detail to flesh out a series." -- David Rooney [Full review]


"The Irishman is terrific and Netflix got their money's worth." -- Mike Ryan [Full review]


"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." -- Owen Gleiberman [Full review]

The Guardian

"No one but Scorsese and this glorious cast could have made this movie live as richly and compellingly as it does, and persuade us that its tropes and images are still vital. We have had ample opportunity to tire of the mob, the politicians, Florida, Cuba and so on. But Scorsese brings it back into a scalpel-sharp focus, especially with a new emphasis on Frank's spiritual devastation and guilt: a man who had long ago amputated his ability to feel remorse and now is unable to come to terms with his feelings. It is another massive achievement for Scorsese." -- Peter Bradshaw [Full review]

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