9.22.2007

The Departed take two

"How's your mother?"
"Oh...I'm afraid she's on her way out."
"We all are. Act accordingly."

I liked this film a lot better the second time around, to be honest. Don't get me wrong, I liked it the first time around too, but I thought it was a little too detached, too cold. Somehow that bothered me less this time. It's quite a focussed, fast picture, a lesson in how to cut the fat without skimping on the details that make a story, and in particular characters, work. It's not subtle in any sense of the word, but it is effective: every detail we're supposed to notice is zoomed in on for a partial second, long enough so we see it but short enough not to hit you over the head with it. The quote above is just a throwaway line, but it summarizes the spirit of the movie perfectly, just like Sullivan's "Okay" just before he, too, goes with a spray of blood.

I know, I know, after railing about the Brave One, how can I endorse this film's all-too-obvious symbolisms and dualities/doublings? Well, maybe because Scorsese doesn't pretend, for all of his flourishes, that this is a crime movie, a movie meant to entertain first and foremost. Also, maybe, because the ending here is honest, more than many other movies of its kind, while the ending of the Brave One is flabbergastingly offensive.

One small quibble: my mother commented in the many fucks in the film. No, I don't mind the word myself, and I think it's a valid - and sometimes very effective - stylistic tool. It can really tell you something about a character, or a milieu. In this film though, I believe it's overused, not so much in quantity (237 fucks, google tells me), but because everyone uses it equally and in the same way, with the exception of Queenan and the shrink (Vera Farmiga, incidentally, it an actress I'm fascinated by). Only Alec Baldwin and Mark Wahlberg manage to infuse something of their characters in the word, and first scene together is priceless for it: but this is not so much because of the f-word but because their profanity is so creative. The use of fuck by the two rats starts feeling old pretty soon.

Oh well. If you can't get enough of the word, you can always check out my post on the Big Lebowski. Or, of course, watch what's below.

2 comments:

cjKennedy said...

It's funny to me that the minute Scorsese relaxed a little bit and didn't try to make The Greatest American Film Ever Made...he ended up with an Oscar.

I liked Gangs of New York and The Aviator a lot, but they felt a little uptight. A little like Scorsese was trying too hard to be important. Departed was a relief for how much fun it was.

After seeing it 3 times, I sort of wish Scorsese had been able to reign Nicholson in just a tiny bit, but how does one do that? And is it really a good idea? He just tends to turn a movie into the Jack Show anymore. Luckily it's an entertaining show.

"Maybe, Maybe not. Maybe fuck yourself"

Sabrine said...

Hey Hedwig,

Gisteren met Merijn deze film voor het eerst gezien. Ik vond m wel oke, wel erg lang voor een actiefilm. Ik vond vooral de psychologe en de 2e undercoveragent leider naast queenan, was dat mark wahlberg?, erg goed gespeeld. leo was nog steeds een beetje leo lief en matt damon vond ik af en toe wel heel erg fout - geen greintje goeds kwam er uit hem itt tot jack nicholson die bij de start van de film tenminste nog een kleine goede daad doet.
ach, een vermakende film, maar ik zou m niet geweldig noemen.
*commentaar van iemand die niks van films weet*
Groetjes,
Sabrine