As you might imagine, there’s a lot to talk about when it comes to Martin Scorsese’s new crime drama, “The Irishman.” There’s the cast, led by Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino. There’s the extensive CGI that went into de-aging the actors. Then there’s the fact that the film serves as some sort of closure between the filmmaker and the crime genre that he’s probably most famous for. But one thing you can’t say about “The Irishman” is that there is a wealth of female characters.
Now, you may read that as a slight against the film, and while there are plenty of people that will likely comment on the film’s use of female characters once “The Irishman” hits theaters and Netflix in the weeks to come, Scorsese has been very frank about why he doesn’t feel the necessity of having the female perspective in his latest mafia film. And speaking on The Director’s Cut podcast, while discussing the film with Spike Lee, Scorsese explained why one of the film’s major female characters, played by actress Anna Paquin, is almost completely silent over the course of the three-and-a-half-hour runtime.
“I kept asking [writer] Steve Zaillian if we can layer her in the story,” the filmmaker said. “I decided that she doesn’t have to say anything. You see your father do something like that, I’m sorry… You see him crush the guy’s hand like that… other kids maybe, but this kid couldn’t take it.”
He continued, “She looks at him. She knows he’s up to something and Lucy [Gallina] was great, but Anna ultimately was amazing in the looks. She has one line in the film. There’s something you can’t talk about. She knows it. She knows who she is. He knows she knows. Even when she’s sitting there and the police are talking about Joey Gallo being [murdered.] [The anchor said], ‘A lone gunman walked in..’ and you see she’s looking at him.”
With female characters given more time to shine in films and TV series over the last few years, especially, it’s interesting to see Scorsese explain that sometimes the best way to honor the female perspective in a story is by keeping them silent and relying on the non-verbal communication. As mentioned earlier, however, it’ll be discussed quite heavily whether or not that works in “The Irishman” once many film fans get to experience the film for themselves.
“The Irishman” arrives in select theaters on November 1 and Netflix on November 27.