The older and wiser guy

EVEN WITHOUT THE NOW ALMOST UBIQUITOUS modifier toxic in front of it, masculinity has become a dirty word. That’s as true in the world of film as anywhere else. White male directors—Who needs them? White male stars? Ditto. Old white male directors and stars? Let’s not even go there.

The stories of white men have been told to death. And here comes Martin Scorsese with yet another film about gangsters obsessed with guns and status, a story in which women are mostly relegated to the sidelines. The Irishman may be the last thing you want to see right now.

Yet even if takes place almost completely in a world of men, it’s all about the limits of that world—and about how even the most thoughtless and ruthless men somehow long a loner’s fantasies of heroic vigilantism push him beyond his limits. is a burlesque of American male greed. shows us a dashing, ambitious capitalist whose eccentricities morph over time into crackpot paranoia. Scorsese’s 25th narrative feature inches into even subtler realms. is a late-career masterwork, a picture that couldn’t have been made by a young man, or by anyone without Scorsese’s range of experience as a filmmaker. It’s an antidote to men’s insistence on their own superiority and power, and a reminder that old age, if we’re lucky enough to see it, eventually brings us all to our knees. is about everything life can take out of a man—even one who thinks he has everything.

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