On one hand you should probably enjoy The Irishman for what it is, an entertaining movie about a period of time in which several things happened that were seen as monumental and life-changing by those that were alive in those days. On the other hand, there are those that value realism over artistic license and might have an issue with Martin Scorsese’s movie. Unfortunately for the latter they shouldn’t be too surprised since Scorsese has shown that he has a habit of taking what was real and putting his own spin on it. Of course this is going to happen, he’s a director making a movie, not a true to life documentary. If you watched Gangs of New York and thought it was all true then you might need to pick up a history book and realize that things are a little different than they appear in cinema. One individual that appears to be truly put out by this is Jack Goldsmith, the stepson of the real-like Chuckie O’Brien, who was played by Jesse Plemons in the movie. As per Evan Lewis of We Got This Covered, this is what Goldsmith had to say:
“What Mr. Scorsese did, in effect, was to place Mr. Sheeran in Chuckie’s role in Mr. Hoffa’s life. It was Chuckie, not Mr. Sheeran, who for decades served as Mr. Hoffa’s “intimate companion, driver, bodyguard and special troubleshooter,” as the labor journalist Victor Riesel noted in the 1960s. Chuckie expected to be ‘tagged with the disappearance’ in the movie, he told me. He did not expect Mr. Scorsese to appropriate his close relationship with Hoffa – the precious blood, sweat, tears and joy of a three-decade father-son relationship, the apex of Chuckie’s life – and give it to Mr. Sheeran for all the world to see and believe.”
This is definitely a bit of an issue if you really read into it as such. There are plenty willing to give Scorsese a pass since he is a director and he is telling a story, and he’s one of the best in the world to do it. But feathers are obviously getting ruffled over the content since people want to know that those they care about and those they knew back in the day are being represented as they should and not being pushed aside for a different ideal. Scorsese has never been shy about going against the grain and has definitely made reputation of doing his own thing throughout the years, but the announcement that this could be his last movie make it feel as though he managed to slip one by the viewers and gain even more acclaim before exiting stage right before people could realize just what he’d done. Which is what, exactly? He told a story, likely offended someone in the process, and cashed in on the fact that people wanted to watch it. You can like the man or not but he’s done his job and he did what he set out to do. The history between Frank Sheeran and Jimmy Hoffa has been documented so many times over that trying to say that it’s all fake is a pointless endeavor since the two men did know each other and it’s been seen and evidenced that Sheeran did commit atrocities for Hoffa on his account. But as to whether or not the movie was entirely fake, well, it’s Hollywood, think about it for for a moment.
The movie wasn’t bound to be 100 percent real and it wasn’t going to be entirely factual the whole way through. Whether you’re a fan of Scorsese or not the man can spin a fable out of reality that can rival just about any rumor you’ve heard and turn it on its ear a few times over. He’s a storyteller, not much else, and he takes what’s there and uses what he can to make it work for the general audience. Those that get bent out of shape about the reality or lack thereof usually need to take a pill and remember that they’re watching a piece of biographical fiction with enough entertainment value thrown in to make it viable, not much else. If movies were made based solely on history a good number of them would either be so horrific or so boring that the number of people that might actually watch would dwindle until the profit could no longer keep up with the budget. Seriously, for those calling The Irishman ‘fake’ here’s a big tip: look in the mirror and say ‘duh’. If you expected this movie to be entirely factual then you really have no idea what movies are all about since very few, if any, have been entirely realistic when based upon something that happened in world history. That’s not how the movies work people. Zack Sharf from IndieWire has more to say about the matter.