De Niro and de far-o

• Terry Brennan and Ian Hale in front of Vincent Fantauzzo’s portrait of Heath Ledger.

GOOMALLING farmer Terry Brennan had only seen three and a half movies in his life until this week, when he drove two hours to see The Irishman at The Backlot cinema in West Perth.

“In 1972 I took my wife to see The French Connection … that was the first date I took her on,” the 68-year-old told the Voice.

“I only got halfway through The French Connection, as she continuously reminds me, and I fell asleep.

“We’re still married – I don’t know how,” he chuckles.

Overacting

The next year he saw The Poseidon Adventure, and continued with a nautical disaster after a hiatus of 24-odd years when Titanic was released.

Mr Brennan thought Titanic’s lead “Decappio, or whatever his name is” did a fair job.

“Someone told me over a beer that he was also in the Wolf of Wall Street.”

That led to his fourth visit, and his first Martin Scorsese film.

He farms sheep half the year and was trying to relax ahead of the busy season. He’s not much interested in tv, only watching a bit of sport and news, but he heard a radio reviewer give The Irishman 4.5 stars.

His initial review was a bit more lukewarm.

“I gave it about a 5 out of 10. But I’m only a farmer, what do I know!

“I thought the last hour could’ve been concised into five minutes.

“The guy with the walking stick was overacting,” he says of acting great Robert De Niro’s performance in the last stretch.

Mr Brennan thought some bits were unrealistic, like an elderly woman on a walker showing some fleet footwork through an old folks home: “Usain Bolt wouldn’t keep with her,” he reckons.

But after some post-screen reading he’s revised his review to 6/10.

“I did some research on De Niro and Pacino, the actors in The Irishman; I think those guys did an excellent job, I think they acted very well, and when I found out their age I gave them another point – to remember all their lines, they did well.

Flashback

“One of them’s nearly 80 years old and one’s in his 70s. How come they look so young in the movies?”

He reckons he could use some of their digital de-ageing in flashback scenes: “I need some for my face; it’s a bit weathered from being out on the farm.”

Most of the big cinemas have refused to play The Irishman because producer Netflix would only wait four weeks between its theatre run and its online release, and The Backlot is the only place screening it in Perth.

Backlot owner Ian Hale says it’s been selling out, prompting them to add extra screenings.

by DAVID BELL

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