Why Terry Gilliam Hated Martin Scorsese's Ending For The Irishman

Robert De Niro in The Irishman

This article contains major spoilers for the conclusion of Netflix's The Irishman. Please wait to read any further if you have yet to see the film.

If you found yourself checking your watch near the end of The Irishman, you’re not alone. Though Martin Scorsese’s latest film was a hit with critics, many film fans found it to be a bit too long -- including Terry Gilliam.

The renowned director recently told IndieWire that he was one of the few who actually got to see The Irishman in theaters, at the London Film Festival. And while he mostly enjoyed it, he admitted his wife fell asleep during the course of the film’s three-plus hour run time. Terry Gilliam also wasn’t exactly thrilled with the film’s ending:

I liked all of it except the last 30 minutes, frankly. With the priest and his daughter? Give me a fucking break. We don’t need this. After we killed Hoffa, I thought, great, we’re done… Marty’s spiritual side is less interesting to me than his human side.

Like Terry Gilliam, some fans have found multiple issues with The Irishman. There was the debate over whether the film should have a wider release, despite being produced by Netflix. Some feel that the movie, which follows real-life alleged hitman Frank Sheeran and his relationship with Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa, is just too damn long. Others have complained that Anna Paquin, who plays Frank’s aforementioned daughter Peggy, is woefully underused. And still more have taken issue with Martin Scorsese’s use of cutting edge de-aging technology so that the film’s stars, including Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, could play their characters over the course of several decades. Terry Gilliam had an opinion on that, too:

I can see why people like it. It’s just we’re back in Martin country. We’re into what he does really well. The age-ification thing works to a surprisingly good degree, but it seemed what they needed in there was a movement director to make them walk like young versions of themselves. The face is younger, the body’s still moving so [old]. You spend all that money, but if you don’t get this bit right, they should have been a little more spry.

Terry Gilliam also made headlines for his controversial criticism of Black Panther. As for The Irishman, despite the lackluster fan response, it’s still a top awards season contender. It earned coveted Golden Globe nominations for Best Drama, Best Director, and Best Screenplay, plus nods to Al Pacino and Joe Pesci (though, surprisingly, not Robert De Niro). And it’s expected to have a strong showing when the Academy Award nominations are released on January 13, 2020.

The Irishman is currently streaming on Netflix.

Katherine Webb