The topic is familiar stomping ground for Scorsese and De Niro -- organized crime. De Niro will play the main man of Houses, Frank 'the Irishman' Sheeran, who reportedly committed more than 25 mob murders. One of these was supposedly Jimmy Hoffa, who he confessed to killing and dismembering on the orders of mob boss Russell Bufalino. And if you're wondering about the title, it has a wonderfully gruesome origin: it's mob slang for a contract killing, due to the mess left behind on walls and floors when you carry one out.
Sheeran confessed all to Brandt, who befriended him before his death in 2003. While this seemed to clear up the mystery surrounding Hoffa's disappearance, controversy still reigns. Other hitman have confessed to the crime since Sheeran, and lacking conclusive DNA evidence or a body, nothing can be proved or denied. The FBI stopped looking for Hoffa's body in 2006. But Hoffa's fate is like the identity of Jack the Ripper -- no one will ever stop confessing, wondering, or looking.
As I said at the start, this movie has a perfect pedigree. But for the sake of argument, do you think it's just too safe? We all realize Scorsese knows a mob thriller like the back of his hand, and we know De Niro can play a guy who, well, paints houses to chilling perfection. I'd love to see Scorsese court some of that Last Temptation of Christ controversy again, but perhaps that's just too cocky of me to question.