Saturday, October 21, 2006

MOVIE REVIEW: The Departed

It took me three weeks but I finally got to see The Departed last night and I am so glad that I did. When it comes to Martin Scorsese I am always biased. I love his movies plain and simple, even some of those that don't do very well. Yes, everyone I know loves the classics like Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Cape Fear, The Color of Money and Goodfellas, but I also love his not-so-classics as well, like Bringing Out the Dead, The King of Comedy, The Last Temptation of Christ and Casino. Now some of his later films have been so-so. I loved what he tried to do with Gangs of New York and The Aviator but I felt like both of those films, while well cast and extraordinarily filmed, left much to be desired. After the first ten minutes of The Departed I knew that this movie would be an instant classic. The film had a frantic energy as the two leads played by Leonardo Dicaprio and Matt Damon try to discover each other's identity in a cat-and-mouse game of cops and robbers, based on the Chinese flick Infernal Affairs.

The film begins with a classic Scorsese voiceover by homicidal gangster Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson). Frank C grooms a young kid to join the cops to snitch for him. The kid, Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon), graduates at the top of his class and is given cushy promotions thanks to the string-pulling from his Uncle Frank. On the other side of the tracks you have another young kid joining the police who has a string of losers and criminals in his family. Because of this history he is asked to quit the academy and become an undercover cop. So you can guess what this movie is about -- Rats.

This flick has an all-star group: on top of Jack, Leo and Matt, you have Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen, Mark Wahlberg and Anthony Anderson. They were all beautifully cast, especially Mark Walberg as the fast-talking sarcastic asshole, Dignam. This film was supposed to take place in Boston and unfortunately they were only allowed to shoot a few scenes there, but it seemed real enough to me. It also helped having Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg, who are natives, to bring an extra dose of realism. I hope my good friend and fellow blogger Mikey Moran agrees with me on that one. He can be kind of anal when filmmakers attempt to make movies in his home state. Trust me, I was there for the Thirteen Days incident with the unfortunate Kevin Costner. Costner of course tried to do a classic Jack/Bobby Kennedy impression; needless to say I heard a lot of grunting and groaning beside me. You know I still love you, Mikey.

There are twists, there are turns, there are those crazy crane shots that Scorsese loves. I did enjoy the beautiful Vera Farmiga, who played shrink and lover to both Leo and Matt. She provided a foil for them to show who they truly were while they flipped back and forth from cops to crooks. Although it did get a little hammy when she ended up in bed with both guys; it seemed a bit of a stretch. It also kind of made her seem easy. But that aside, I enjoyed every fast-paced unpredictable moment of this one. So if you were like me and unfortunately waited three frikin weeks to see this thing go and see it now before it's gone. Right now, today, go and see this movie. It's one of the best of the year so far and you get to see a great throw down between Matt and Leo. What could be better?

Grade: 5 Buckets

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