Netflix has released the first look at one of its greatest original films to date: that of Martin Scorsese The Irishman. The film stars Robert De Niro as mob hitman Frank Sheeran and Al Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa.
De Niro has been connected to the project for more than ten years and Netflix picked up the film in 2017 as part of a larger strategy to purchase prestige drama for its platform. Netflix wants to show that it is a legitimate player in Hollywood, who has watched the company while it is making efforts to improve the film and theater industry.
The adaptation was a passion project for Scorsese. It is an adaptation of the Charles Brandt book from 2004 I heard you paint houses, which one is about the life of Sheeran, a World War II veteran who becomes a murderer for the Bufalino crime family. The trailer introduces Sheeran as he meets Jimmy Hoffa, the president of the Teamsters, while continuing his work.
The trailer also shows a bit of the work that has been done to age the stars of the film, as it takes place over several decades. Scorsese spoke about the process earlier this year, which explained the effort spent on visual effects, and noted that it was a major concern for production. He explained that because the film is told out of order, the public will have a chance to view the results side by side. We see this more in the film: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story used CGI to recreate the parable of Peter Cushing and portray a younger Carrie Fisher; Captain Marvel featured extensive work to show off one younger Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg; and the upcoming Ang Lee movie Twin Man will contain two versions of Will Smith: an older killer and a younger clone.
It's pretty clear that Netflix is setting its sights on next year's award season with The Irishman. It not only has an impressive cast of actors who have built an important career – besides De Niro and Pacino, it also plays Harvey Keitel as Angelo Bruno and Joe Pesci as Russell Bufalino – but it is about one of the country's most notorious mafia stories : the murder of Hoffa in 1975. Scorsese was very lucky in this area; he has picked up the nominations for the best director Goodfellas, Gangs of New Yorkand The left in the course of his career. This film looks like it fits nicely alongside those films, with breathtaking images, men in smoky back rooms and brutal murders.
The Irishman is scheduled for premiere at the New York Film Festival in September, with a streaming debut somewhere later.