The Irishman

Written by Michael Clawson

Elegiac and exceedingly well-acted, this is my kind of crime epic. The kind with all the explosions and executions you’d expect, but that’s as interested in the lines on its aging mobster’s faces, the simple pleasures they enjoy, their stubborn ways and petty grievances, as it is with the mechanics of their wheeling and dealing in politics and business. It made me think less of Scorcese’s own gangster movies than Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. The Irishman isn’t wistful in the same way that movie is because the Manson murder victims were innocent people, whereas Sheeran, Bufalino, and the rest are obviously not innocent – they’re brutal criminals. 

But the melancholy that comes from our knowing of the Manson victim’s tragic fate as we watch them go about their day is not unlike the effect of learning of these mobster’s demise as we meet them. They’re all going to end up killing each other, or in jail, and for what? Again, the pleasures they enjoy are simple ones: juicy steaks, ice cream sundaes, bread with grape juice, if not wine; things they need don’t money and power to have and share with their children, whose affection they struggle to earn. And on that note, the runtime is essential to shaping Frank’s relationship to his kids: the length enmeshes us in the mobster milieu and mindset, defined by its indifference to the life and death of others, which makes watching his daughters look at him with so much trepidation so unsurprising and poignant. And to think they don’t even know just how many guns their dad had to throw in the river.

The Irishman Trailer

The Irishman is currently streaming on Netflix.

Son

Written by Alexander Reams

49/100

Horror films have always had the good old reliable tropes that they can rely on. Such as haunted houses, killer on the loose, and one that recently seems to be used more than any other, possessed children. Whether that is demonic, medical, vampirism, or witchcraft. Son, from fairly new director Ivan Kavanagh, relies heavily on the latter trope. The film’s plot, and stop me if you’ve heard this one before. When a young boy contracts a mysterious illness, his mother must decide how far she will go to protect him from terrifying forces in her past. Sounds familiar? Well that’s because it is a rehash of countless horror films, most prestigiously being The Conjuring 1 & 2

A pair of performances in the film shine brightly. Matichak (Halloween) as the mother of the possessed child brings something that has been seen before, but her delivery of the script seeps care and love for her son throughout. This is shown especially in the home invasion scene. Matichak’s facial expressions and body movement as she tries to rescue her son from forces in her home. Hirsch (Speed Racer, Once Upon a Time.. in Hollywood) as the detective chasing them brings a no nonsense aura that fits perfectly in a film filled with worthless dialogue and nonsensical performances. His kindness towards Matichak develops to a romantic interest, but not in the traditional sense, his feelings towards her never get in the way of his job. A trope that is not shown enough with detective characters which does add a layer of freshness. 

The screenplay, also by Kavanagh, is mediocre and filled with vapid lines that truly mean nothing to the story and try to draw your attention from the abysmal performances by everyone except Matichak and Hirsch. The actor playing “David”, Luke David Blumm is another reason why there is such a negative stigma against child actors. He overplays every scene, losing any chance at building stakes and emotional connection. Emotional connections between characters is a two way street, and while Matichak has one with Blumm on screen, he has nothing, no connection, or any resemblance to a relationship with Matichak echoing back. Even with great performances from Andi Matichak and Emile Hirsch, the film stumbles in its pacing, direction, screenplay, and every performance outside the top billed duo.

Son Trailer

Son is currently streaming on Shudder.

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