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Why 'The Irishman' is the most highly-anticipated flick of 2019

Directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, this mob movie is Netflix's most ambitious project yet

17 March 2019 - 00:09
From left, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, who all have key roles in 'The Irishman', and Martin Scorsese, the film's director.
From left, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, who all have key roles in 'The Irishman', and Martin Scorsese, the film's director.
Image: Supplied


WHAT: A 30-second, no-footage teaser trailer for Martin Scorsese's hotly anticipated Netflix-released mob film The Irishman.

WHEN: No definite release date yet but "it's coming this fall".

WHY: Because the cast includes Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel.


During the Oscars broadcast a few Sundays ago, Netflix, not satisfied with the threat its 10 Oscar nominations for Roma have posed to Hollywood, decided to remind viewers that its biggest and most anticipated project yet is coming to the streaming service and cinemas later this year.

In a 30-second teaser, in which a CGI smoking bullet flies around providing the letter "I" to each of the credits of its cast members, there's a brief snippet of voiceover where two of the most famous voices in American cinema engage in a brief, cryptic piece of dialogue. Unless you've lived under a rock for the past 45 years, you'll recognise those voices as belonging to actors Al Pacino and Robert De Niro.

WATCH | The teaser trailer for The Irishman

The Irishman, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Pacino, De Niro, Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel, is anticipated as being the director's most ambitious project yet, and with $105-million backing from Netflix, it's also the streaming giant's biggest play for movie dominance to date.

Based on the book I Hear You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt, the film, written by Oscar-winning screenwriter Steven Zaillian, tells the story of New York mob hitman Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran (De Niro) who was a friend of - and later claimed to have killed - notorious Teamster leader Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino).

There's been plenty of speculation over the past three years about the film, and a few leaked pictures from the set, but little concrete information about what audiences can expect other than the news that part of the delay is due to heavy use of CGI effects to de-age De Niro and Pacino to their '70s glory for sections of the film.

Scorsese's long-time editor Thelma Schoonmaker revealed this in an interview last year and claimed that the director was working in new but "very risky territory," a sentiment that many pundits have also applied to Netflix, whose backing of Scorsese to such a large tune could backfire.

This in spite of the fact that The Irishman reunites the director with several core cast members of his ground-breaking 1990 mob hit Goodfellas, marks the first time he's worked with Pacino, and reconnects him with Keitel, who was the star of his break-out 1973 film Mean Streets.

We'll still have to wait a while yet to see anything more concrete from the film. But for now, Scorsese's clever, efficient teaser offers proof that the film is well on its way to becoming one of the year's most eagerly awaited when it lands on Netflix and in cinemas some time "this fall".