' ' Cinema Romantico: Dissecting a Scene: Frank Sheeran Appreciation Night - Part 4

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Dissecting a Scene: Frank Sheeran Appreciation Night - Part 4

And so, Frank Sheeran Appreciation Night Appreciation Week concludes with Part 4. Read Parts 1, 2 and 3 here, here and here.

As the fourth and final conversation between Frank and Jimmy begins, Schoonmaker cuts not to a wide shot first showing both men but a shot of Jimmy, implying who the moment is all about even as Pacino has Jimmy meet the moment with this kind of glazed over expression, like, seriously, another talk, what’s the big deal?

Then the wide shot as DeNiro has Frank lean in, like he’s really trying to emphasize what he’s saying, telling Jimmy there’s concern about him and how he’s acting, that “there’s widespread concern.” 

First, Pacino reacts by acting like he’s not really even listening, glancing over at who knows what.

Then when Frank says the others mean what they’re saying, Pacino has Jimmy look back but out of annoyance, saying more than imploring that he means what he’s saying too.

At which point, though, Jimmy looks at his friend, really looks at him.

And he realizes Frank is truly concerned. And so. Finally. Frank levels with his man in that impeccable mafia poetry that is at once indistinct and implicit, juxtaposed against the whole convoluted, sprawling lifestyle, which is what this scene (this movie) is all about. “Tony told the old man to tell me to tell you.”

“It’s what it is.”

“What it is?”

“It’s what it is.”

And now, the three stages of Pacino’s reaction. First, taking in what he’s been told.

Then, having it really, truly register.

Finally, not believing it.

Frank tries to get Jimmy to settle down-

-but Jimmy tells Frank, “If something happens to me, they’re done.”

At which DeNiro has Frank draw back, like really, we’re really going down that road?

Jimmy’s going down that road, telling Frank he’s got tapes, he’s got files on all of them.

“This is what they’re concerned about,” Frank says.

“They do something to me,” Jimmy says, calmly, coolly. “I do something to them. That’s all I know. I don’t know anything else,” he says, turning it back around on his friend, this message and their whole lives. “Do you?”

“So what I am gonna tell ’em,” Frank wants to know, “that you’re not gonna listen?”

You can’t quite see it here but, in trying to semi-charm his way out of the situation, telling Frank “you know how I am”, “maybe you can talk to him”, even though he’s literally just threatened him, and “I just blow sometimes”, he makes this little blowing up motion with his hands, a gesture that feels as comical as his plea.

“You should tell him,” Frank insists.

“No,” Jimmy says as he looks away, underscoring how little he means any of this. “I’m not gonna tell him.”

Now he looks back cuz now he’s gonna say what he means. “Listen to me, at the end, there’s only one thing that’s real. This is my union.”

Then he grabs Frank’s arm and shakes it up and down as he repeats “This is my union.”

And as a mournful trumpet is hear in the background, after that, after all of that, after 23 minutes of screen time, after four blog posts and, what, 274 screen shots, says, “Very simple when you say it that way.”

He walks away.

And Scorsese gives the Last Look not to Jimmy but Peggy...

...looking back at her father. As if telling him “tough.”

It’s what it is.


Alex Withrow said...

Fantastic breakdown of a great scene. Need to go back and check out your other Appreciation Night posts now.

Nick Prigge said...

Thanks man! Took a lot of time to do this, but it was also really fun.