Martin Scorsese’s last drama was Silence, released in 2016. Since then, fans have been patiently awaiting The Irishman, a crime drama starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino. As if this team-up wasn’t exciting enough, the film will also feature extensive use of de-aging technology.
A trailer dropped just a couple of weeks ago, piquing interest and heightening the already high anticipation for the project. No movie is a sure thing until it is out, however, and uncertainty still floats in the air around this project. Furthering the conversation, here are five reasons to be excited about The Irishman, and five reasons to worry.
10 Worried: Uncanny Valley
De-aging technology has been in vogue for almost a decade. Tron: Legacy used it for its antagonist who resembled a young Jeff Bridges, and the MCU has used it for Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, and Clark Gregg.
The Irishman will do the same for Robert De Niro since the story will take place in several time periods. It’s a novel idea, but unless it looks perfect, it will prove a huge distraction for the audience. When the effect is even the slightest bit off, it stops looking like a normal person’s face.
9 Excited: Scorsese & De Niro Together Again
Martin Scorsese is undeniably one of the most talented filmmakers to ever grace this green and blue planet. The same rings true for Robert De Niro’s acting. When the two come together, the result is always a masterwork.
Listing all the films they did together would be too many words for this entry, but ones that immediately come to mind are Goodfellas, Taxi Driver, The King of Comedy, and Raging Bull. A collaboration between the two has yet to fail, and there is no reason to think they’ll flop with The Irishman.
8 Worried: Underwhelming Trailer
People have been waiting a long time for footage from the upcoming film. The recently released teaser finally showed how young Robert De Niro looks like, along with a few other tidbits. The film looks promising, but as a trailer, it could have been better.
Of course, these advertisements aren’t always representative of the final product, but they are still integral in generating hype. If the legendary names weren’t attached to this project, the teaser would not do much to raise awareness or excitement.
7 Excited: Ambition
No one likes it when people play it too safe. While Scorsese is no stranger to historical gangster films, this one is trying something new and bold with its extensive use of de-aging. If it works, people will sing the praises of the film all the way to the academy awards.
On the other hand, failure will leave a bad mark on a nearly flawless filmography from the famed director. Regardless of how it turns out, one cannot disrespect the film’s lofty goal to attempt what was once thought impossible. Unless it is something completely unethical and morally corrupt, no one should ever criticize ambition.
6 Worried: Another Gangster Film
Martin Scorsese has a varied array of films under his belt. Throughout his career, however, he always comes back to crime films centering around gangsters. His most famous works often involve the mafia, the police, or some mixture of the two.
He has done phenomenal work outside of these, too. After Hours, The Last Temptation of Christ, and The Aviator are all memorable works not involving gangs. While the Irishman will surely be a hit, one can’t help but desire for the talented filmmaker to go into a direction he’s never gone before.
5 Excited: Steve Zaillian
The book on which the movie is based, I Heard You Paint Houses, was adapted for the screen by Steve Zaillian. It wouldn’t be the first time Scorsese directed a screenplay which Zaillian wrote, as Gangs of New York was also penned by the screenwriter.
In addition to the Scorsese film, he also wrote the screenplay for Schindler’s List, Mission: Impossible, and American Gangster. With such works already under his belt, one can rest assured that if The Irishman turns out poorly, it won’t be because of a weak screenplay.
4 Worried: Al Pacino
Al Pacino has indeed played some of the most memorable characters of all time. However, for every Godfather and Scarface, there exists a Jack and Jill and 88 Minutes. Few actors have churned out gold with every performance, but Al has been in some stunningly terrible movies.
It is always hard to tell if the veteran actor will hit a home run or strikeout. Fans are praying for the former, but a bad performance in this movie can break the whole thing, even if everything else works.
3 Excited: Joe Pesci
Joe Pesci has been taking it easy in recent years. Of the three films he’s participated in since the turn of the century, one of them was a cameo and the other was a voice-over role. In the upcoming film, he’s expected to play a major part in the plot.
Like De Niro, all of his parts under Scorsese’s direction have been stellar. For him to come out of retirement for a film must mean the part is really something special, and not just a paycheck.
2 Worried: Feeling Like Goodfellas
Goodfellas is another film that follows the life of a gangster. While the events will undoubtedly play out differently, one cannot help but compare the new film to the 1990 classic.
It doesn’t help matters anymore when Goodfellas is often seen as one of the greatest films of all time. The movie will probably be a solid hit at worst, but it already has a shadow hanging over it from the director’s previous classic gangster film.
1 Excited: Theatrical Release
Netflix has a weird relationship with the film industry. Many veteran filmmakers get up in arms when movies produced by the streaming giant become eligible for academy awards. There is certainly a case to be made for immediate home video availability destroying the sanctity of the theater, but it should have no effect on the people making the product and their artistry.
Regardless of one’s thought about it, everyone can rejoice in knowing The Irishman will make its way to theaters, if only for a limited time. Hopefully, it will show in enough theaters to give everyone who wants to see it a chance to do so.
Next: The 10 Most Iconic Quotes From Scorsese’s Casino