Martin Scorsese’s next film is the much-anticipated The Irishman – his first film since 2016’s Silence, it marks a return to the gangster genre for the Oscar-winning director and a reunion with Robert De Niro, with whom he worked on such classics as Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980) and Goodfellas (1990).
Scorsese’s been planning to make the film – an adaptation of Charles Brandt’s book I Heard You Paint Houses – for years, but it sounds like it’ll be worth the wait, with a truly epic runtime of 3-and-a-half-hours, or 210 minutes.
That’ll make it Scorsese’s longest picture to date, by quite some distance – it surpasses Silence (which ran to two hours, 40 minutes) by almost an hour.
Speaking at a Tribeca Film Festival event earlier this year, Scorsese insisted that “no one else” but the streaming service was willing to bankroll his ambitious vision for The Irishman.
“We decided to make it with the understanding that it’ll maybe never be shown in theatres,” he said. “They said, ‘You would have a time in theatres’ — a few weeks or whatever. I said fine. The idea was to make the movie, you see.”
The Irishman will dramatise the true life story of Frank Sheeran (De Niro), a mob hitman and World War II veteran, chronicling his involvement in the disappearance of American labor union leader Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino) and his involvement with the Bufalino crime family.
As well as reuniting De Niro with Scorsese for the first time since 1995’s Casino, the film will also mark his fourth collaboration with Pacino, following The Godfather Part II (1974), Heat (1995) and Righteous Kill (2008).
The Irishman will also star Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel as the mobsters Russell Bufalino and Angelo Bruno, Anna Paquin as Sheeran’s rebellious daughter Peggy and Stephen Graham as Mafia capo Anthony ‘Tony Prop’ Provenzano.
With a budget that’s been reported as being as high as $200 million, it’ll be not just Scorsese’s longest film but also one of his most expensive.
New York Film Festival director Kent Jones has described the movie as “rich, funny, troubling, [and] entertaining,” saying, “It’s the work of masters, made with a command of the art of cinema that I’ve seen very rarely in my lifetime, and it plays out at a level of subtlety and human intimacy that truly stunned me. All I can say is that the minute it was over my immediate reaction was that I wanted to watch it all over again.”
Given the running time, that’s really saying something! Its limited run in cinemas will allow The Irishman to be nominated for Academy Awards, with films requiring a minimum seven-day theatrical run in a Los Angeles theatre to be eligible.
The Irishman is set for limited release on 1st November and will be available to stream on Netflix from 27th November.