You’d be forgiven for forgetting that director Martin Scorsese has a new movie coming out since the director’s recent and repeated comments about Marvel movies have taken up a lot of the oxygen in the room. That’s a shame though, because The Irishman is supposed to be pretty good. That’s actually an understatement because so far, because The Irishman's reviews are the highest for a Scorsese movie in a long time.
The Irishman doesn’t hit theaters, where it will play in limited release, until the beginning of next month before heading to Netflix at the end of November, but it premiered at the New York Film Festival, so we already have an idea what critics think of it and the early reviews are glowing. As of now, with 80 critical reviews counted, The Irishman enjoys a sterling and unblemished 100% Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes (which Scorsese is no fan of, by the way).
There are still a lot of reviews to be counted once The Irishman is formally released, and it is entirely possible that not all critics will appreciate the film the way those who saw it early have. The Tomatometer is also an imperfect metric, but it does provide a snapshot of critical sentiment and the reviews for a film.
So that score could go down. After all, not many movies maintain a 100% fresh. Nevertheless, The Irishman reviews are still the highest for a Martin Scorsese movie in some time.
Martin Scorsese is a legendary and celebrated auteur, so his movies are generally pretty good and well received by critics, but some of his films are still praised more than others. Martin Scorsese’s last feature film before The Irishman was 2016’s Silence. That finished with an 83% on Rotten Tomatoes. Prior to that, The Wolf of Wall Street, which is a much more popular film, managed a 79%.
The most recent movie of Martin Scorsese’s that cracked 90% was 2011’s Hugo with 93%. Even The Departed, for which Martin Scorsese won his long-deserved first Oscar for Best Director, only boasts a 91%. In fact, The Irishman’s so far 100% fresh score makes it Martin Scorsese’s best-reviewed narrative feature film in his over a half-century long career.
The films in his oeuvre that come closest to The Irishman in terms of reviews are some of Scorsese’s most acclaimed works and ones that hold honored places in the medium. Taxi Driver from 1976 has a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes as does 1978’s The Last Waltz. The Irishman is anticipated as Scorsese’s return to the organized crime genre, and previous efforts in that vein include Mean Streets and the iconic Goodfellas, which hold scores of 97% and 96%, respectively.
Obviously Rotten Tomatoes wasn’t around when those films were released, so these reviews were aggregated after the fact. And the variety and sheer amount of film reviewers nowadays are much greater than they were decades ago. Nevertheless, the reviews for The Irishman are notable.
For a director of Martin Scorsese’s caliber, with an oeuvre as extensive and celebrated as his, to potentially have his best-reviewed movie this far into his career is remarkable, reflecting a true master of his craft. It’s likely especially rewarding for him as well given how long The Irishman took to finally get made and the obstacles that had to be overcome along that journey.
We’ll see if that 100% will hold when The Irishman opens in theaters in limited release on November 1, followed by its Netflix debut on November 27. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to see when all of this fall’s biggest movies are coming.