The intensity of public reception to The Irishman and Marriage Story has slapped the film industry sideways. Suddenly the future has arrived- but is anyone besides Netflix happy?

The year and the activities of the decade are ending and the clash appears to have been lost. On your television, laptop, tablet or smartphone, the evidence is there, cold as a body on the slab: Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman and Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story, two of the most impressively scaled films of the year, are now available to watch at a time of your choosing, or to play in the background while you chat, eat, scroll through social media or discount them entirely.

These movies have entered our residences without experiencing the traditional cinematic lifecycle: a few months on the big screen, then a further three or four months in limbo before arriving on DVD, television and the repertory tour, where they will see out the rest of their days. Most beings are not willing to wait that long, and Netflix has been instrumental in anticipate, determining and revelling our agitation. It has not merely closed the theatrical exhaust space, but tossed a brick through it. Tied to that brick is a note that reads: “Welcome to the future.”

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