Earlier this week, a tweet went viral which demonstrated how one could watch Martin Scorsese's three-and-a-half-hour epic, 'The Irishman', as a TV miniseries.
The tweet, innocent though it may have been in its intent, needled some people in how it actively dismissed the intent of the movie. When pressed on the topic by a journalist from EW, Martin Scorsese was pretty adamant in his rejection and stated clearly why the movie should be watched whole rather than in pieces.
"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. A series is great, it’s wonderful, you can develop character and plot lines and worlds are recreated. But this wasn’t right for that."
That's really all there is to it. For anyone's who seen the movie, the final scene of 'The Irishman' ends on a bum note because, well, that's the point of it. He's an old man, sitting in a retirement home, alone with nobody except a priest to talk to - and even at that, he can't admit anything of note to him. We've gone through the whole course of his life for it to land on that note on purpose.
This isn't even about how you watch it, whether you happened to see it when it was in cinemas or if you watched at home on Netflix. For one, going to the cinemas nowadays - especially if you have children - is an expensive proposition. On top of that, there's also the question of disability access, transport, not to mention the fact that the movie had a limited release here in Ireland. Simply put, wherever you watched 'The Irishman' isn't the issue - it's about how you watched it.
There are plenty of movies that could very easily be carved up into four or five parts to make it easier to watch. 'Lawrence of Arabia', 'Ben-Hur', even something like 'Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood' is being mooted for a Netflix miniseries. If that's what the director intends to do, that's fine. But if the artistic intent is to have you sit through it for three and a half hours, then you as the audience have to commit to that.
If you're worried about your bladder, Netflix comes with this great feature called the "pause button" that allows you to stop the movie whenever you like, do your business, and then continue on from exactly where you left off.
If you really think watching 'The Irishman' in four stages and breaking the flow of it is the way to go, here's the tweet we mentioned at the start.
— Alexander Kardelo (@dunerfors) November 28, 2019