Martin Scorsese moving his next movie to Netflix is both a welcome change and a surprise. It’s a surprise because Scorsese has always been a huge proponent of seeing movies in theaters, believing the cinema gives the purest, most enjoyable experience. It’s welcome because the film in question, The Irishman, could be one of the most brutally violent and gritty movies of Scorsese’s career. The movie is based on the novel I Heard You Paint Houses and will follow Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a hit-man for the Mafia who racked up more than 25 hits. The title of the source novel is nearly a direct quote from Hoffa to Sheeran, referring to Sheeran’s occupation. To the mafia, painting houses meant killing, as the paint was the blood spattering results of the hits.
If Scorsese’s moving to Netflix, that could mean most of the restrictions and filters he had to work with in traditional cinema could be lifted. As we know from Bill Burr, one of Netflix’s more consistent notes for their original productions is “push it further,” something that Scorsese could easily do. The Irishman will get a limited theatrical release, so there may not be room for too much of a push, but since Netflix is handling the bulk of the release, expect some boundaries to crack.