Set to be released this year is the Netflix produced, Martin Scorsese directed, Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci (among many others) starring The Irishman, a mob saga that promises to be something quite grand…
I must admit, I heard of the film being made but didn’t think much of it. When I saw the trailer, though, I got excited. The Irishman looks like an old fashioned Godfather-esq type mob film, filled with betrayals and shootouts.
I had no idea about the source material, though, and didn’t know how accurate, historically, the movie would be. Yeah, Jimmy Hoffa was a character in it (played by Al Pacino), but otherwise I had no idea if this would be fiction or semi-reality or an attempt at a full biography.
Then, I stumbled upon this article by Bill Tonelli and presented on Slate.com. In it, Mr. Tonelli argues the book and confessions of one Frank Sheeran, the Irishman the movie refers to, are likely complete and total fabrication.
Read for yourself:
Mr. Tonelli offers fascinating reasons to doubt Mr. Sheeran’s confessions, which made shortly before he passed away in a nursing home in 2003 and which formed the basis of the book subsequently published to much acclaim and which is the basis of the Scorsese movie.
Mr. Sheeran, among other things, claims to have been the triggerman who killed Jimmy Hoffa. His claims, however, are decidedly wild above and beyond even that one claim, though I don’t want to spoil the article by giving them away (suffice to say the book and, presumably, Mr. Sheeran’s confessions paint him out to be something like a Forrest Gump of the mob world, involved to some extent in almost every big mob activity from the early 1960’s and through the 1970’s).
Read the article if you’re interested, it paints a fascinating portrait of the man and reasons to doubt his confessions. Note, too, that the author does present the “other” side, a few people who believe Mr. Sheeran was telling the truth.
When a story sounds too good to be true…
The fact that Sheeran positioned himself in so many big mob events while it seems many in law enforcement barely knew of him, suggests either A) he was a criminal mastermind who hid his tracks expertly behind the veneer of a drunk, or B) he was a gross exaggerator who spun tall tales regarding his own involvement in unions and the mob.
The story does indeed sound a little too good to be true.
My feeling is the odds are more with option “B”.