Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman debuted on Netflix just ahead of Thanksgiving earlier this week and while the epic gangster drama has won over both critics and fans alike — the film is presently sitting at a 96 percent Fresh on Rotten Tomato’s Tomatometer and a very healthy 86 percent on the site’s Audience Score — it does have one “problem”. The Irishman is a huge movie in terms of length clocking in with a three hour and thirty minute runtime, a number that is 28 minutes longer than Avengers: Endgame just for reference. While praise for the film makes it clear that The Irishman makes good use of its long runtime in terms of story and detail, it’s still a serious investment of time to sit down and watch. Fortunately, for those who don’t want to carve out that kind of one-sitting time one Netflix user has come up with a handy breakdown of how to experience The Irishman as a mini-series by breaking down the story into chapters for easy viewing.
On Twitter, Swedish-based entertainment journalist Alexander Dunerfors shared his breakdown for watching The Irishman, dividing the film into four “episodes” by offering timestamps and specific scene moments to cue viewers when to stop without losing any of the story’s momentum. You can check out the breakdown below.
— Alexander Dunerfors (@dunerfors) November 28, 2019
Dunerfors has things split up into four episodes: “I Heard You Paint Houses” (which is a nod to the book of the same name by Charles Brandt that The Irishman is based upon,) “Hoffa,” “What Kind of Fish?” and “It Is What It Is.” It’s a very handy breakdown and works well even if you plan to watch the whole film in one “sitting” as opposed to over a few days as this breakdown doubles as a great pause point to go and get a snack, stretch your legs, and take a moment to process the story you’ve just seen play out.
While this breakdown is a pretty handy thing that some fans will absolutely appreciate, the same may not be able to be said for Scorsese. In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly the filmmaker responded to the idea that the film was so long that it could have been episodic and it’s an idea that he simply wasn’t having.
“You could say, ‘This is a long story, you can play it out over two seasons’ — I saw somebody mention that,” Scorsese said. “Absolutely no. I’ve never even thought of it. Because the point of this picture is the accumulation of detail. It’s an accumulated cumulative effect by the end of the movie — which means you get to see from beginning to end [in one sitting] if you’re so inclined.”
One could argue that you could get the same accumulation of detail even with breaking the story down into parts — especially if fans chose to binge watch — but Scorsese went on to say that the story of The Irishman just wasn’t suited to it.
“A series is great, it’s wonderful, you can develop character and plot lines and worlds are recreated,” he said. “But this wasn’t right for that.”
Fans can decide for themselves: watch all at once or try this mini-series breakdown with The Irishman now streaming on Netflix.
Have you seen The Irishman? Do you think it’s better suited to one long watch or a more episodic breakdown? Let us know in the comments below.