Kill The Irishman: It’s Cleveland, 1975 and Danny Greene (Ray Stevenson) is clearly a guy some people don’t like. While driving along, his Cadillac’s radio starts to short out and he immediately attempts to jump out just as it explodes (accompanied by some rather dodgy CGI), only just making it.
From there, Kill The Irishman goes back to the childhood of Danny and Detective Joe Manditski (Val Kilmer), with narration by the latter, telling us how they grew up together in Collinwood and that back then, everything had been controlled by the mafia, since the 1940s, headed by John Skalish.
Move ahead to the 1960s and Danny is rather a hardcore negotiator, as we see when a man called Art Schnepeger (Jason Butler Harner) can’t pay, so Danny goes up to casino boss John Nardi (Vincent D’Onofrio) with a proposition, about which we’re not informed at that point, but Danny tells Art to promise him never to gamble again. Will he, though? At the same time, Linda Cardellini pops up as waitress hottie Joan Madigan, who becomes the object of Danny’s desire.
He has dealings with Jerry Merke (Bob Gunton), who’s an absolute bastard of a Union President, leaving Danny with a view to taking over, while marrying Linda at the same time and life is as sweet as a nut. However, he gets too big for his boots and is arrested and charged with grand larceny, extortion and labour racketeering.
He manages to evade jail time by supposedly tipping off the FBI about any dodgy things going on that they’d want to know about, while at the same time getting involved with Shondor Birns (Christopher Walken), a restauranteur to the public in general but a loanshark to others, although not that he likes to call himself the latter because there was a time when he claims his stock-in-trade was a legal practice.
The cast is rounded out with Vinnie Jones as a man who’s meant to be half-Lithuanian and half-Irish, helping Danny out with his new garbage hauling business, Paul Sorvino, who
looks no different than he did 20 years earlier in Goodfellas and Robert Davi as Ray Ferritto, another wrong ‘un.
Overall, Kill The Irishman starts off with promise, but starts to drag before too long and really needs some tightening up. However, I do love the occasional news inserts, as if they’re real television news on-the-spot pieces, complete with the kind of grading you’d expect on such a broadcast, and in 4:3 as well.
One of this film’s biggest problems is that there are just too many characters in it. Yes, I know it’s based on a true story, but it just felt overloaded and meanders as a result. Less is more.
Presented in the 16:9 (1.77:1) exactly, so I presume the cinema 1.85:1 ratio would mask the top and bottom slightly – not that it would make any real visual difference, the picture which looks crisp and clear throughout, perfectly bringing the look of the 1970s period to life.
Audio-wise, the film is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 HD Master Audio, although it’s mainly used for ambience, dialogue and music, plus obviously gunfire and explosions, but nothing like a typical action film.
The extras are as follows:
- Danny Greene: The Rise and Fall of The Irishman (1:00:27): An hour-long look back at the life of Danny Greene and the real-life story behind the film, with many different people giving their views.
- Trailer (2:09): In 16:9, and one which pretty much summarises the entire film from start to finish, so if you want to avoid spoilers before seeing the film, don’t watch it.
The menu features clips of the film set against the movie’s theme. There are subtitles in English only, which cannot be switched off for anyone who wants to watch it in its native Spanish language alone, and the total number of chapters is a paltry 12. At nearly two hours, this film needs twice as many.
Running time: 106 minutes
Released: September 2011
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (English), Mono (Spanish)
Languages: English, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Widescreen: 16:9 (1.77:1)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Jonathan Hensleigh
Producers: Al Corley, Eugene Musso, Tommy Reid and Bart Rosenblatt
Screenplay: Jonathan Hensleigh and Jeremy Walters
Music: Patrick Cassidy
Danny Greene: Ray Stevenson
John Nardi: Vincent D’Onofrio
Joe Manditski: Val Kilmer
Shondor Birns: Christopher Walken
Joan Madigan: Linda Cardellini
Mikey Mendarolo: Tony Darrow
Ray Ferritto: Robert Davi
Grace O’Keefe: Fionnula Flanagan
Jerry Merke: Bob Gunton
Art Sneperger: Jason Butler Harner
Keith Ritson: Vinnie Jones
Jack Licavoli: Tony Lo Bianco
Mike Frato: Steven R. Schirripa
Tony Salerno: Paul Sorvino
Leo ‘Lips’ Moceri: Mike Starr
William ‘Billy’ McComber: Marcus Thomas
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.