NYFF Press Share High Praise in First Reactions for ‘The Irishman’


The Irishman” has made its highly anticipated debut at the 2019 New York Film Festival. The film from Martin Scorsese tells the story of Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a mob hit man that claims to have been involved in the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa.

Robert DeNiro stars as Frank, with Al Pacino playing the infamous Hoffa. The rest of the cast is just as noteworthy, including Joe Pesci, Anna Paquin, Ray Romano, Jesse Plemons, Harvey Keitel and more. It is a virtual who’s who of Scorsese and Academy Award alumni.

Robert DeNiro won his second Oscar for his role in Scorsese’s “Raging Bull” in 1980. DeNiro was also nominated for two of the their other collaborations, “Taxi Driver” and “Cape Fear.” In total, they have done nine feature films together and one short. Incredibly, this is the first time Martin Scorsese and Al Pacino have worked together.

The film was written by Steven Zaillian, who adapted it from the book by Charles Brandt. While the story has largely been dismissed as untrue, there have always been lingering questions about Sheeran’s account. Scorsese’s adaptation focuses on key moments throughout Frank’s life as he reflects on the events that shaped him.

While “The Irishman” won’t officially premiere until tonight, and official reviews are under embargo, writers at NYFF did share their initial reactions on Twitter. The reactions are overwhelmingly positive, with the only criticisms appearing to be mixed feelings about the de-aging effects.

Our own Joey Magidson was in attendance this morning and had this to say:

And our J. Don Birnam praised the director’s aptitude for character development:


Others shared similar sentiments:

And Polygon’s Karen Han pondered awards prospects:

“The Irishman” is one of several projects coming from the Scorsese/Netflix collaboration. They will release it in theaters on November 1, following a streaming release on November 27.

What do you think of these reactions to “The Irishman?” Does it affect your Oscar predictions? Comment below and share!