Based on Charles Brandt’s book I Heard You Paint Houses, Martin Scorsese’s latest film dramatises the story of Frank Sheeran, a real-life war veteran turned mobster hitman. Played by Robert De Niro, we first meet Frank in a nursing home. Now in his 80s, he guides us into the depths of his memory, sharing flashbacks of his time working for an American mafia family, the Bufalinos. Having learnt to ruthlessly obey orders during World War Two, Frank makes the perfect mob killer, and quickly becomes right-hand man to family boss Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci).
At the same time, Frank begins climbing the ranks of a labour union, eventually becoming a trusted friend and minder of the Teamsters’ leader, Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino). Hoffa is in charge of the largest union in the US and, as the pair grow closer, we watch Frank’s life snake between organised crime and union leadership – culminating in a brutal crime which remains officially ‘unsolved’ to this day.