Five days after director’s mob epic hits Netflix, Scorsese urges viewers to see it on as big a screen as possible
Catherine Shoard -The Guardian
Plea to film fans … Martin Scorsese at the Hollywood Film Awards last month. Photograph: Danny Moloshok/Reuters
Martin Scorsese has implored audiences not to watch his films – or those by other directors – on their smartphones.
“I would suggest,” said Scorsese, “if you ever want to see one of my pictures, or most films – please, please don’t look at it on a phone, please. An iPad, a big iPad, maybe.”
Following a three-week run in cinemas – where it continues to be shown – The Irishman was made available on Netflix accounts last Thursday. Netflix do not officially release viewing figures, or box office receipts, but numbers for both are likely to be high.
Opinion on social media has been split between those championing a cinema viewing for the film, which stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci and those embracing its smaller-screen accessibility.
Some users have proudly shown themselves watching the film on an Apple phone.
Others, meanwhile, have offered guidance about how best to break the three-and-a-half-hour film into a manageable miniseries.
This format was emphatically rejected by Scorsese. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, he said he had “never even thought of it” as suited to such divvying.
“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.”
Scorsese, who made an advert for the iPhone 4s in 2012, is winning some of the best reviews of his career for the film, which employs cutting-edge digital technology to tell a tale spanning many decades.
The film has won some limited criticism for the scant airtime offered to its female stars, most notably Anna Paquin, who plays De Niro’s adult daughter and speaks seven words in her 10 minutes on screen.
Speaking to USA Today, De Niro defended the decision of screenwriter Steven Zaillian, saying that such silence was part of the point of the character.
“She was very powerful and that’s what it was,” De Niro said. “Maybe in other scenes there could’ve been some interaction between Frank and her possibly, but that’s how it was done. She’s terrific and it resonates.”
Other backlash to the film largely stems from superhero movie fans angered by Scorsese’s dismissal of the genre. Speaking at the Tallinn Black Nights film festival in Estonia at the weekend, Dante Spinotti, a cinematographer who worked on films including Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp, said: “I think probably Scorsese wasn’t thinking correctly when he said what he said.
“I divide movie-making into two large categories: good movies and bad movies. That’s all there is to it. Why say what’s a movie and isn’t a movie? I don’t see the point.”