Re: Martin Scorsese's The Irishman
Joe fuckin' Pesci. I was half kidding w/ all the emphasis on Pesci when I started this thread, but it's time to wax lyrically. We've never seen Pesci like this; his is the understated performance that holds the film together. Pesci brings to Scorsese what Takashi Shimura brought to Kurosawa. It's more quality, less quantity. One of the criticisms you could level at the film is that it doesn't have the kind of memorable scenes that are automatically mentioned when people speak of Goodfellas or Casino -- and guess who's the intense dynamo there? Pesci. And he gives one of the better supporting performances ever in Raging Bull. Sharon Stone represents the only time he's been outperformed in a Scorsese film. I know DDL is acting, I can see Oldman acting, but there's something about natural performers like Pesci that make me forget what it is they do for a living.
Scorsese succeeds at his usual business: a balance of story w/ explosive depictions of violence. The de-aging effects start off as a distraction but Scorsese has an unusual way of masking this: time jumps. He attacks the story from different points in the lives of the protagonists, forcing you to constantly adjust. The de-aging becomes a seamless part of this process.
Pesci is solid throughout, De Niro anchors the early and last part, and Pacino has a strong patch in the middle. The film is absolutely better than its main competitor this awards season, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Where Tarantino surrenders to his sophomoric sensibilities, Scorsese carves out an ending that should see it perform well w/ the more conservative awards bodies. The chunk preceding this - the disappearance of Hoffa - is the best part of the film. It's full of reserved emotion and frisson of tension, and nobody employs silence quite like Scorsese.