It’s been several years since anyone has mentioned Martin Scorsese in the same breath as Oscar. Yeah he was up for it with “The Aviator” in 2004 and “Gangs of New York” in 2003, but those snore fests were only nominated because everything else in the theaters sucked ostrich dick. This man gave us movies like “Taxi Driver,” “Raging Bull” and of course “Goodfellas.” Ain’t seen any of them? Get a clue and get them in your Netflix queue. The Departed promises us simpletons something from his glory days. It doesn’t fail.
Sure the plot is a bit clichéd (good cop infiltrates mob, bad cop infiltrates FBI), but this movie definitely sets itself apart from any of the similar flicks. How? Simple. Careful storytelling, well shot scenes and impeccable casting. Let’s take a peek at each of these.
The story of The Departed may be something we’ve heard and seen before, but in this incarnation Scorsese carefully plots the back story and builds up the tension in a very methodical manner — just like squeezing out a well-fed shit. Although there a few plot holes force fed upon us (gangster knows there is a rat in his gang and doesn’t kill off the newest gang members?, cops know a mole is in the department yet don’t even think of checking mobile phone records?), I didn’t really mind. I was more entranced with the fine lines both moles had to walk — the moral complications, the fear of death and discovery and the hope to be accepted by a loved one under false pretenses. All of this is rolled successfully up into a well dialogued movie. This is coupled with an old school way of film making. Nothing is filmed too brightly. Scorsese prefers to keep things on a darker level — which adds mystery and mystique and forces the viewer to pay closer attention to the on screen action. A great deal of attention is spent focusing on the actors expressions; great nonverbal communication going on here.
Most notable however is the casting. The Departed has quite the cast. Even though I wouldn’t necessarily piss on him if he were on fire, Leonardo DiCaprio plays a very believable kid thrust into something well above his head. Matt Damon, who hasn’t done anything of worth since Good Will Hunting, shines as a man deeply troubled by his situation. And of course how could I forget Jack Nicholson who plays — you guessed it, the part he was meant to play — a fucking pompous, asshole gangster. Rounding out the cast are notables like Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen and Alec Baldwin. Kudos to the casting directors.
Now that the suckfest is over let me piss upon The Departed‘s legs just a bit. As mentioned before there are a few moments where you are expected to throw common sense and Detective Work 101 out the door. The strong performances help to cover up these moments, but nonetheless, they’re there (and the more I think about them the more aggrevated I become). The biggest drawback is the movie is 152 minutes long. That’s 2 1/2 hours, folks. That’s a long fucking time to sit in an uncomfortable seat eating Raisenettes. Clearly, some of the cinematics could have been cut without detriment to the film.
All said, Scorsese has another hit on his hands. The Departed delivers on his vision, and you will not be disappointed with his latest offering — even if your ass becomes numb after sitting for the extended period of time needed to watch it.
November 7, 2006 @ 7:52 am Nashtradamus
Before I dwell into the darker details of the movie, I would like to pose a question to the person who posted the review. What’s with the piss and shit cornucopia.
I tend to agree here on the fact that “The Departed” has certainly is Scorsese’s best film in over a decade, it works on multiple levels for not just fussy cinemagoers but general audiences as well, and unlike those aforementioned examples it never feels slow, self-important or clunky. The real separation over this film isn’t going to be whether you liked it or not, but rather to what degree you embraced it.
What’s surprising here is that this is not an ‘awards seeking’ kind of personal arthouse film like Scorsese’s more recent movies, rather “The Departed” is simply and purely a thoroughly entertaining mainstream blockbuster designed more to be enjoyed than to be analysed. Yet, much like Chris Nolan did with “Batman Begins” or David Cronenberg showed with “A History of Violence”, it’s one of those great examples of the difference that a visionary director can bring to relatively conventional material – making a solid movie into something far deeper and more rewarding.
Laughs come frequently and loudly throughout the film, with almost all being character based rather than cheesy one-liners or goofy sight gags. The result is some tremendously smart and snappy dialogue interplays mixed with scenes which give the actors room to breathe and add their own style.
As the film goes on, the script problems become more apparent with the last 15-20 minutes in particular so over the top and filled with those “oh come on” kind of moments that it whilst it doesn’t ruin the film, it does leave a slightly sour taste (the final shot in particular will probably annoy). Ultimately many will embrace it as after all, this is the master returning to the genre which he really helped map out. The film is not a career changer like a “Goodfellas” or “Raging Bull”, the subject matter is far too well-mined and the last act too clunky for that. Rather this is more like a slickly made popular entertainment that turns a familiar formula on its head to make it thoroughly engaging again. Familiar but relaxed and confident work that all can appreciate. A great film? To some degree. Great fun? Absolutely. One of the year’s best films? Most certainly.
I rate this film a A-.
PS: I would recommend lightly buttered popcorn over Raisenettes for your pleasurable 152 minutes of movie watching.
November 7, 2006 @ 9:35 am General Disdain
I have no idea what “What’s with the piss and shit cornucopia.” means. Please elaborate.
I tend to like your review – basically because it agrees with mine, although I’m not too familiar with the frequent scenes of laugh out loud laughter . . .
November 7, 2006 @ 11:48 am Nashtradamus
“just like squeezing out a well-fed shit”
“Even though I wouldn’t necessarily piss on him if he were on fire”
“Now that the suckfest is over let me piss upon The Departed’s legs just a bit”
That’s what I meant by the piss-shit cornucopia. As for not noticing the laugh out loud scenes….I would blame it on the raisens or you need to polish up your humor.
November 8, 2006 @ 9:34 am General Disdain
I was picturing you in a SCAT flick while writing the review – it wasn’t pretty.
Surely, you aren’t making the accusation that I don’t have a sense of humor. For my sake please list all the laugh out loud scenes, because although there were a few mildly funny moments, there sure as shit weren’t any causing me pain in my sides from laughter . . .
March 8, 2017 @ 7:00 am Ad
The Nashtradamus guy doesn’t know the LOL scenes because he cut and pasted what he posted above. He probably never saw the movie.
November 13, 2006 @ 11:37 am Nashtradamus
It isn’t pretty to have YOU picture ME in a SCAT movie. That ain’t right at all for all the wrong reasons.
As for your classification of mildly funny moments and thereby lacking any laugh out loud scenes is understandable since when you would picture me in a SCAT flick, I don’t think anything in this movie would tickle your sides.
November 13, 2006 @ 2:15 pm General Disdain
The images weren’t pretty – but they certainly were funny as fuck!
November 15, 2006 @ 8:39 am Nashtradamus
You are one sick fuck!
November 15, 2006 @ 3:37 pm JerseyMike
The wife and I went to see this movie and while we don’t go to the movies often, this is one I really wanted to see.
First – The film work in this movie was just incredible. Martin Scorsese knows how to get the best shot of any film maker of his era. I was completely impressed
Second – Leonardo DiCaprio, Alex Baldwin, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson. While I have a varying opinion of each of these actors acting ability, all of them provided some of the best acting I’ve seen in long while. While I’ve never liked Leonardo DiCaprio, he really proved himself in this role and if he chooses his roles carefully, he could become a major star.
Alex Baldwin I think played the best role of his career, even if it was a minor one. He’s learned over the years to deliver his lines and improve on his comedic timing to the point, he’s become very talented. I think all the stints on SNL might be paying off.
Third – The story. Just fantastic, a bit clichéd in spots, but I found it completely engrossing and yet complex. I thought all the main characters getting killed in the end was just brilliant (my wife hated it). It ran a little slow in spots, which can happen in a Scorsese film, but it picked up the pace when required.
I’d rate this at one dog pile too…
November 25, 2008 @ 11:17 pm The Misspeller
O.k So how many people had to use their fingers to add up the Spam Protection thing? Haha. I did:)
Anyways first of all, I can admit I am probably no where near the equivalent levle of spelling, grammer, punctuation and such things, as some of the posts on here but I must say, I am used to seeing people argue online with a whole lot of… what’s it called? Leet writing I guess and I was really happy to see an agument held in such a sophisticated mannor. I was impressed:D
Now, that was all I really had to say but to stay on topic for the sake of spam. I thought this movie was really well done. I agree to the piss talker in his/her review. I am doing an assignment on this movie in english class.
Hoping for an ‘A’