The Irishman starts off strong and finishes even stronger — in fact, I’d go so far as to say the last half hour is damn near perfect. But on this re-viewing, I felt much the same about the movie as I did the first time around: This is a beautifully shot and directed movie that probably shouldn’t be a movie.
Featuring dozens of characters over three-and-a-half-hours, it’s stuck in an uncanny valley between film and television; everyone involved (including director Martin Scorsese and stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci) turns in great work, but the epic story frequently loses focus and gets bogged down in minutiae in a way that makes its runtime a liability.
On Netflix, you can pause the movie when it has 90 minutes left and return to it the next day. This time, I did, and I enjoyed the movie’s final act much more as a result. But then that leads me to wonder: If this was meant to be watched with interruptions, why not push it to five hour-long episodes? As it is, I recommend The Irishman … but maybe not all at once. ★★★½