I've watched The Irishman a lot since it came out. Part of the reason why is that it's incredibly accessible on Netflix, and the other part is that I think it's a deep and fantastic movie about aging, regrets, and the American dream.
One of the best elements of the movie is the cinematography. There's so much camera movement in a Scorsese movie, and when he's got you hooked on the screen for over three hours, he's really doing a great job to pull you deeper into the world.
In my opinion, my best shot in the movie is one that may have gone unnoticed to you the first time.
It's the long take right in the middle, where we follow gangsters performing a hit. It's subtle, incredibly difficult to execute, and feels like the perfect distillation of what Scorsese does so well; clean shots, complicated moves, and deep story details.
The shot starts directly after the fourth-wall break from Joe Pesci, where he says he doesn't want two roads coming back to him.
Check it out below, and let's talk after the jump.
This was all probably captured using a Steadicam, but I love how we gradually work up to the movement. At first, we are still on a man in a barber chair. We pan with the gangster who notices him and then pans back.
After that, we move in a reverse pivot, and it turns into a tracking shot through an underground mall. We track with our guy until he passes a staircase, then track back with the hitmen.
Of course, Scorsese knows we want to see blood, and instead he subverts expectations. Rather than letting us in to see the carnage, we track past the hitmen as they enter the barbershop and stop on a showcase of funeral flowers.
Scorsese uses this to give us a wonderful screen full of flowers and to control us with the sound of the hit as it happens.
The flowers signify the man's death, and when we cut out of the oner, we see a black and white still that gives us the carnage he promised.
Scorsese shows ultimate control here. He gives the audience what they want in a new way, and carries us there unconventionally. After all these years, he's still playing and talking with us.
What did you get from this shot?
Let us know in the comments.