The Irishman is a hit on Netflix – but how many people are watching it the whole way through?

Film data in the US suggests viewers are struggling to make it through the film in one sitting

Roisin O'Connor
Thursday 12 December 2019 11:45
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Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci star in The Irishman - clip

Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman is one of the hottest contenders for awards season in 2020, and now, Netflix recently announced, a hit on its streaming service.

13.2 million US viewers watched the film on Netflix over its first five days of release, according to Nielsen data (falling short of the 16.9 million who watched Bird Box).

While Nielsen data doesn’t account for viewers outside of the US, or measure views on mobile devices (Netflix itself reports that The Irishman was watched by over 26.4 million accounts worldwide in its first week of release) it’s still the best indicator of viewing figures – and habits.

Another revelation made by the data is that just 18 per cent of viewers managed to finish the film, which has a total running time of three hours and 30 minutes, in one sitting.

While many critics have raved about the epic crime drama, which stars Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino, viewers have been more divided.

The word “boring” has cropped up more than once among the reactions posted to Twitter, with some suggesting that it is too long for a feature film and others wondering if it would have worked better as a limited series.

That said, the performances by De Niro, Al Pacino and Pesci have received near-unanimous praise (although De Niro was controversially snubbed for the Best Actor nominations at next year’s Golden Globes).

The Independent‘s critic Clarisse Loughrey called the movie a “throwback to Scorsese’s golden age” in her review, and hailed a “delicate” De Niro and “revelatory” Pesci.

The Irishman reminds us, in a way starker than any of Scorsese’s previous work, that retribution is inevitable,” she wrote.

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