“The Irishman” and other Gangster Entertainment


Dylan Ramos, Journalist

Dinero, Keitel, and Pesci are three to make another return to Scorcese’s set, collage via Dylan Ramos

On November 27th, Netflix’s newest acclaimed original hit the streaming platform from the hands of director Martin Scorcese, bringing us another installment in his filmography of drama and crime films with “The Irishman”. The film features actors Scorcese has worked with many times previously, such as Robert Dinero, Harvey Kietel, and Joe Pesci. Al Pacino also stars in a Scorcese film for the first time, popular for having co-starred with Dinero in other crime dramas in the past.

Previous critically acclaimed actors such as Neeson, Dafoe, and Dicaprio do not make a return, collage via Dylan Ramos

The film is based on the book “I Heard You Paint Houses”, released in 2004 from Charles Brandt, and follows a an elderly man’s recounting of stories from his time as a mafia henchman. All in all, the film is in line with both the latest and the classic additions to his filmography, taking a little bit from everything he’s learned and put together so far. His previous film, The Silence, contains elements of a long-drawn epic similar to the length and magnitude of events in this film. The recognizable, edgy humor that hit it’s peak in The Wolf of Wall Street is present as well, along with the staple crime-on-crime violence that comes with all gangster flicks which helped jump-start Scorcese’s career with such early edgy films like The Big Shave and Taxi Driver.

The movie may be most popular amongst late-early and middle-aged adults, who’ve been able to appreciate previous acclaimed crime dramas in the past by Scorcese or starring Dinero. However teens can appreciate elements of crime drama too. When asked if his favorite crime media was Peaky Blinders,  senior Yuan Legaspi said that it is. Several Seniors at ERHS appreciate the show, which is also a Netflix original. To get more detail on what can hook teen students to adult crime dramas, I asked Yuan what drew him to the show so much.

“(the characters), they’re very detailed and each have very strong personalities, their actions consistently speak on who they are and what they think.” Strong characters always have the effect of making connections with their audience.

Wisdom Obeziu, another Senior, was more drawn into the setting of the show. “I’ve always been interested in historically accurate shows… with a fictional story on top of it, that doesn’t detract from the historical setting. The fact that it was post-WW1 in Burmingham intrigued me, I was like ‘I’ve never seen post-WW1 from Burmingham’s perspective.'”

But more recent shows like Peaky Blinders are different than older crime flicks like Bonnie & Clyde or Pulp Fiction, which had more stakes in their action than their characters.

Wisdom Obeziu points out “it’s better… mainly because it’s a show, so they have more time to flesh out the characters, and flesh out the story and environment. It’s a whole arc they go throughout their life, they’re not just gangsters.”

Yuan Legaspi saw Peaky Blinders as being “much more serious and traumatic compared to older gangster movies. The only one I can think of that has the same traumatic effect is Scarface.” Older movies didn’t tend to put as much of an emphasis on how their criminal actions affected their characters.

The Irishman definitely touches upon some of these qualities of Mafioso personal darkness, as much as it can throughout it’s fairly streamlined runtime. It is now streaming on Netflix and in select theaters.