Scorsese scores with mayhem and the mafia in ‘The Irishman’

Martin Scorsese is the director of the movie. (Supplied)
Updated 06 December 2019

Scorsese scores with mayhem and the mafia in ‘The Irishman’

  • Martin Scorsese and Harvey Keitel get together for the first time since “Mean Streets,”

CHENNAI: Incredibly, it’s been nearly 25 years since director Martin Scorsese worked with his on-screen ‘alter-ego’ Robert DeNiro (in 1995’s “Casino”).

They finally reunite in “The Irishman,” in which DeNiro gives arguably the greatest performance of his long and stellar career as Frank Sheeran, a World War II veteran who, in the 1950s, gets sucked into the mob, which pushes him into any number of nefarious activities, and sees him estranged from his much-loved daughter Peggy.

There are other long-awaited reunions in the film’s cast — Scorsese and Harvey Keitel get together for the first time since “Mean Streets,” and Joe Pesci, one of the great mob character actors, is back with DeNiro and the director. There’s also a much-hyped first-time meeting between Scorsese and another legend of American cinema, Al Pacino, who plays Jimmy Hoffa, the leader of the mighty Teamsters union — heavily linked with organized crime — who disappeared in 1975. It seems remarkable that these two heavyweights of the genre had to wait until Pacino was 79 to work together for the first time.




It’s been nearly 25 years since director Martin Scorsese worked with his on-screen ‘alter-ego’ Robert DeNiro. (Supplied)

“The Irishman” is Sheeran's story (it is based on Charles Brandt’s 2004 book “I Heard You Paint Houses,” which was based on Sheeran’s recollection of events that took place in the Fifties and Sixties when he was working as a truck driver and became involved with gangster Russell Bufalino (Pesci). Sheeran goes on to become Hoffa’s bodyguard.

“The Irishman” is a vast canvas (it clocks in at 209 minutes) of political corruption, avarice, murderous ambition and violence — all made to seem perfectly normal. The film doesn’t attempt to portray the mobsters’ softer sides, as so many mafia movies and TV series have. Sheeran does display an emotional connection to his daughter, but there is nothing remotely familial about Bufalino or Hoffa.




The film doesn’t attempt to portray the mobsters’ softer sides, as so many mafia movies and TV series have. (Supplied)

The one bum note in “The Irishman” is Scorsese’s decision to use actual footage from the time to illustrate the links between politics and the mafia. It doesn’t quite convince. The rest of the movie, however, is superb.

Pacino is at his amped-up, mercurial best — it’s a delight to see him and DeNiro at the peak of their acting powers, working with an equally gifted director. DeNiro cleverly lets us glimpse hints of the ruthless villain beneath Sheeran’s dignified veneer with a performance of restrained brilliance.

Crafted with excellence and elegance by Scorsese and backed by a powerhouse cast of ageing actors (‘de-aged’ with digital technology for the period scenes), “The Irishman” is a remarkable piece of cinema from some of the medium’s most-gifted protagonists.


Models Gigi, Bella Hadid walk designer Gaultier’s last fashion show

Jean-Paul Gaultier took his final bow of a 50-year career in the industry at the Paris Fashion Week. (AFP)
Updated 23 January 2020

Models Gigi, Bella Hadid walk designer Gaultier’s last fashion show

  • Part-Palestinian sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid were among the big names walking his last haute couture runway, the models wearing Gaultier’s latest designs from his Spring 2020 collection

DUBAI: French designer Jean-Paul Gaultier on Wednesday took his final bow of a 50-year career in the industry at the Paris Couture Week.

Part-Palestinian sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid were among the big names walking his last haute couture runway, the models wearing Gaultier’s latest designs from his Spring 2020 collection.

Gigi was dressed in a sailor’s outfit featuring a striped bodysuit with white wide-leg trousers and sailor hat. (AFP)

Gigi was dressed in a sailor’s outfit featuring a striped bodysuit with white wide-leg trousers and sailor hat.

Bella wore a strapless peacock-like black dress which the stylists paired with boots and gloves.

Bella wore a strapless peacock-like black dress which the stylists paired with boots and gloves. (AFP)

Gaultier shared a video on his Instagram this week inviting his followers to attend the show and celebrate the end of his half-century career with him. “It is going to be a party with my friends, and we are going to have fun until very, very late.”

He then went on to announce his farewell. “Now I am going to share something with you. This will be my last haute couture show. Be there! You can’t miss this,” he said. “However, stay tuned, Gaultier Paris will go on. The haute couture continues. I have a new concept and I will tell you about it later.”