The Irishman is Scorsese’s Gangster Epic: A big, grand, ambitious rags to riches mob tale that blurs the lines between loyalty, friendship, and business. It might be the quickest 209-minutes in the history of cinema. Joe Pesci, welcome back.
You could say “The Irishman” is above all things a tragedy. Underneath its veneer of wise guy tradition and violence lies the story of a man facing the music for his embrace of mob life and neglect of his family.
The best comparison one could make to The Irishman is David Lean's similarly epic-sized Lawrence of Arabia (1962), a biography that examines its subject for four hours before conceding to its unknowability.
The Irishman is not only one of Martin Scorsese's best films (which is saying a lot), but also a tribute to all the crime movies in which its director has specialized (contributing masterpieces to this genre). [Full review in Spanish]
In a very real sense, Martin Scorsese is fighting against his own mythic legacy. In another way, of course, his return to the form in which he made some of the more compelling American cinema of the last five decades is a perfectly fitting closing coda.
Scorsese makes movies that Scorsese likes, damned be anyone who doesn't care much for them. All of his stylistic touches are here, but there's a certain hollowness to the whole affair that's admirable even if not likeable.