If “Goodfellas” is Scorcese at his most passionate, then “The Irishman” is Scorcese at his most mature and honest. There’s still a deep-seeded love for gangsters and the power they wield, but there’s even more reflection on how they got that power and if it was truly worth it. This is all perfectly encapsulated in the quiet, contemplative performances of Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, while complimented by Al Pacino doing what he does best by chewing the scenery to beautiful effect as the loud-mouthed Jimmy Hoffa. And while the runtime is nearly three-and-a-half hours, there isn’t a single wasted scene, every moment lasting exactly as long as it needs to in order to give us the most introspective look at gangsters we’ve ever seen. “The Irishman” is smart, well-paced, funny and has three of the best performances of the year, making it the best gangster film since “Goodfellas” and one of the best films of the year.
Final Grade: A