Sunday, June 12, 2011

Gives a Whole New Meaning to "Good Cop, Bad Cop"

"No one gives it to you, you have to take it."-Frank Costello
"Holy fucking shit!" was my reaction to the end of The Departed (2006). Not the most eloquent statement I must admit, but now I understand why people have been telling me to see this film for years. I honestly did not expect to like the film as much as I did. Which is strange seeing as I loved The Town (2010) and the parts of The Godfather (1972) I have seen (I know, I know, I can't really be a film snob if I haven't seen the whole Godfather...). I generally have no problem with gritty, bloody, violent films. The war film genre is one of my favorites. But I honestly wasn't sure what to expect with this film. I knew a lot of my guy friends liked it, and that it took place in Boston and it was about the mob and the police, but that was about it.
I think the thing I liked so much about the film was how performance driven it was. The Town was great (I know I keep using it as a comparison, but it's the best I've got in terms of Boston mob films), but the cast could not measure up to the splendor that was The Departed. Each performance was better than the next. I kept trying to decide who I liked better, Leo or Matt Damon and it kept changing based on the scene. For awhile I was majorly impressed with Damon's acting, his composure and the way he seemed to be in complete control of his character and many elements of the plot. Then there was Leo, the complete other side of the coin; in no way composed, deteriorating in front of my very eyes, so vulnerable and yet so strong, impressing the hell out of me like he always does. I loved Marky-Mark too; I think he might have been better here than he was in The Fighter. I think he really held his own among the cast unlike the other film in which he was overshadowed by Christian Bale. James Badge Dale I recognized instantly from The Pacific and I was very excited to see him in another completely different role. But it was Jack Nicholson who obviously stole the show. I think I will forever have the image of him with his mouth full of blood, teeth bright red, smiling wide in my head. I don't even remember what scene that image was from, but he continues to create some of the most memorable characters of all time. He was just on another level in this film. Completely crazy? Yes. It worked though. All the acting worked and most importantly, they worked well together; they all fed so well off each other. And while I would have loved to see Leo finally win an award, I completely respect his decision to stand by his fellow cast members. He couldn't have done it without them.
I was also a really big fan of the score. I thought it added a great dimension to the film, especially the Dropkick Murphys' "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" (which I'm listening to as I type this). It was a really good mix of songs and I liked the old school feel they provided. It put the film back a bit, not so much in the past, but a time not our own (like the opening says).
Lastly, I really liked the way the narrative was structured, the way it skipped back and forth and yet was easy to follow. Scorsese did an amazing job using the camera work to aid in the ease of viewing and the flow of the story. He also made great use of cuts to add just the right amount of suspense.
Overall, I'm glad that I finally watched The Departed and mad at myself for taking so long!
Rating: No milk needed!

1 comment:

  1. I agree, it's such a great film! My favorite was definitely DiCaprio, because he really surprised me with that performance, like you said, the whole vulnerability thing. And I love I'm Shipping Up to Boston too, in fact I listened to whole soundtrack for weeks!