Every gangster movie is about deaths. But how many are about death? That’s the wonder, originality and profundity of Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman.

A three-and-a-half-hour journey through “Underworld USA”, as moviemanes and mythomanes have sometimes dubbed the gangster realm, the film is like a true trip to Hades. Or a long gaze at its brochure. Which is better? To die in a bullet hail, a simple, ambushed sinner/criminal; or to go to death slowly and unshriven, like the bodyguard and career hit-man character (played by Robert De Niro), whose keeping of his most closely guarded secret is both his last vice and his last virtue?

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