Netflix channeled its inner "Blu-Ray by mail" past and is releasing a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Martin Scorsese's The Irishman.
I have watched The Irishman three times since its release and I think it's, so far, the best movie of the year. It's hard to imagine making such a sprawling epic. Now, you don't have to. You can just watch some behind-the-scenes featurettes on the movie and see how it's done.
You see, Netflix is channeling its past delivery service, but this time they're digitally bringing the special features to your front door.
While Roma marked the first time that the The Academy took Netflix seriously, awarding that film with a Best Director Oscar and a nomination for Best Picture, The Irishman hopes to replicate that success. And Netflix is doing so with a full-frontal assault on the industry with Scorsese's latest gangster epic. By the time they're done, they'll have to drop some weapons into the Schuylkill River.
But they're not using bullets. They're using a ton of very engaging, very worthwhile, DVD special features-worthy interviews and a documentary to show us the crowning achievement that is The Irishman.
Let's start with a conversation with the film's cinematographer and how they shot this movie.
Followed by Anna Paquin addressing her much talked-about, dialogue-free role:
Ray Romano, Stephen Graham, and Bobby Cannavale also chime in:
Aside from acting, we are also given a look at the costume design that went into every character. From the ring to the overcoats to the jumpsuits worn in the retirement home.
What about sound mixing?
So much of what makes this movie great is the little things that keep us in the world. That make us feel the authenticity of what is provided.
Netflix supplied that too.
While rolling out this extensive content might be just for awards, it still gives us a look at a movie that otherwise would only exist as a click on their platform.
Aside from these short clips, you can watch a 20+ minute roundtable with Scorsese on Netflix itself.
We still have a long way to go when it comes to streamers competing with the physical release structure that enabled studios to make multi-disc Blu-Rays for fanatics of each movie. But I think Netflix using these features as marketing tools might be the most genius move of all.
They can engage casual viewers, drum up goodwill, and give audience members something to share on social besides the trailer.
Here is hoping Netflix continues this strategy with movies outside of awards contention. The more direct conversations we have with the creators the more we learn about creating. Go make something.