The Irishman ★★★★

Is The Irishman a victory lap for Scorsese? A sort of thematic greatest-hits carved into a new narrative? Is it a "mea culpa" for his violent filmography, as I've seen film twitter suggest? While I can confidently say that it is not the latter, I really can't yet sum up my feelings on this sprawling historical epic of one seemingly insignificant yet consequential man's life.

I feel like I already need to watch it again to absorb the portions where I glided through, revitalize the moments faded to the lengthy runtime like they faded in the long view of its protagonist's rocky life. And maybe that's one of its strengths, rather than a weakness; the movie faithfully conveys its ideas through the sheer immensity of its narrative, all those people and relationships lost while busy "painting houses," scrambling to better one's position in a vicious system, finally feeling alone, left on a sofa in the dark when the credits rolled.

I wish I could just find another spare four hours to watch this again already, to soak in all the details and come up with something profound to say about it, but that's not happening any time soon. So I'll just say this is one of the better gangster epics that I've seen, but it doesn't exactly reach the height of its creator's best work. I don't think it's trying to, anyway. Scorsese had the freedom to make whatever he wanted, and another wild ride through a certain strain of American history is what he made. It'll certainly be interesting to see how I feel when I finally do revisit in a few years or more.

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