A house-painter coats walls in red splatters of blood. He’s a very specific kind of handyman who gets the job done, but there are no do-overs. Frank Sheeran is the man who paints houses in Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, an astonishing picture that celebrates everything the filmmaker has mastered for more than four decades now.
His new film lines up the most exciting crop of Old White Men™ imaginable – making, in this instance, the overwhelming dominance of such a breed in the film industry feel utterly essential. The Irishman stars Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino as the crucial leads, and brings in Ray Romano, Harvey Keitel, Bobby Cannavale and Stephen Graham in showstopping supporting roles. In terms of women, in this case it’s better to celebrate Woman, singular – Anna Paquin puts in a sturdy, sensitive performance as Frank’s daughter Peggy.
The story, based on Charles Brandt’s 2004 memoir I Heard You Paint Houses, retells the life of Frank Sheeran, a war veteran, driver and hired hitman, through his alliances with (and involvement in the disappearance of) politician Jimmy Hoffa, and the crime business of the Bufalino family. It is told by Sheeran himself, reflecting from a chair in a care home.
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