Movie Review: No 54. The Departed

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Movie Review: No 54. The Departed

Frank Costello: I smell a rat.

If you enjoy senseless violence, then ‘The Departed’ will be right up your (darkened) alley. The film provides a unique twist on the tired “good cop/bad cop” routine. In this case, the “good cop” is undercover as a bad guy while the “bad cop” is undercover as one of the good guys. GENIUS. Drama ensues. Shots are fired. Blood is shed. You know, my usual weekday night these days.

I’m trying not to hold the fact that IT IS YET ANOTHER GANGSTER MOVIE against this film. Frankly, its main redeeming feature is the endearing way Bostonites say the word “Depahted”. Makes we wanna go watch Good Will Hunting again and reminisce about the good old days when Matt Damon’s characters had more than two dimensions. Unfortunately this brief glimmer of hope is immediately destroyed when the same Bostonites refer to a croissant as a “French Donut”.

These gangster films are really starting to take their toll. I’m pretty sure my neighbours think there is a violent domestic going on in our flat at least twice a week. The walls are pretty thin so I wouldn’t be surprised if the police turn up at our doorstep due to reports of “constant gunfire and screaming”. I’d like to say they’d find no evidence of it, but I’m sure pretty soon I’ll so sick of the gangster films that I’ll do something drastic. Screaming and bloodshed do not seem out of the question.

In my most recent review (No. 28 The Usual Suspects), I mentioned that it isn’t a Hollywood classic without a Baldwin, and on this front ‘The Depahted’ doesn’t disappoint. Alec has got to be my favourite Baldwin, and likeminded fans of the TV series ’30 Rock’ will know why.

In fact, ‘The Depahted’ is really a line-up of “usual suspects” of Hollywood awesomeness. I shudder to imagine the budget when I see the list of stars:

  • Leonardo DiCaprio
  • Matt Damon
  • Jack Nicholson
  • Mark Wahlberg
  • Martin Sheen, and of course
  • Alec Baldwin

Wowsers!

Look, it was an OK film. The actors are given space to do what they do best. DiCaprio’s got the tortured soul thing going on while Matt Damon oozes his usual charm. Martin Sheen is sleek, and Baldwin and Wahlberg get to stretch their funny bones. Jack Nicholson, as ever, somehow manages to score a hot chick despite a clear lack of any attractive qualities whatsoever. It’s comfortable. It’s easy. It’s safe.

To justify a top 100 position, however, I feel like you really need to offer more than what is safe. You either have to create something new, or do something better than it’s ever been done before. While I enjoyed the movie, I’m not convinced it did either of those things. In my opinion, it’s nowhere near top 100 material. Put it on your ‘DVDs to Watch’ list, by all means, but don’t expect it to leave a lasting imprint on you, or even offer just one memorable quote to crack out at parties.

It is what it is and, in my opinion at least, that makes it 6 pumpkins.

Have you seen ‘The Departed’? Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments below.

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14 responses »

  1. Really? Just 6 pumpkins? I have to disagree – I think The Departed is an awesome film! I’d happily let it stay within the Top 100.
    Not usually one for ganster movies but thought this one to be very worthy, I loved it.

      • Well, yes, I am always a bit of a fan of Matt Damon and Leo DiCaprio movies…
        BUT I just really enjoyed this one. Lots of action, drama, twists at the end, a stellar cast and so many deeply flawed characters that you love to hate – I really thought the whole package was great.

      • You present a strong argument there Shelley! I’m still getting over the ludicrously unethical behaviour of the psychologist, to say nothing of the actual criminals!

    • Sarcasm duly noted Dave! I was upfront when I said I didn’t like gangster films, but I don’t think I’m being unreasonable here. What made this a standout movie for you? to me, without the stellar cast it wouldn’t even have rated a mention.

      • Haha, I think the chemistry between the characters and the dialogue in this film is what makes it a standout one; there are heaps of memorable lines! Howzabout:

        “How’s your Mother?”

        – Ah, she’s on her way out.

        “We all are, act accordingly.”

        C’mon!? Also, this film is a remake of a Hong Kong film, Infernal Affairs (which is a trilogy and is also pretty great).

      • I agree that the chemistry between the characters is top notch. It’s defintiely a very character (and actor)-driven film. On the other hand, I can’t say that line is up there for me in the world of movie quotes (a world I love dearly!)

        And it’s a remake huh? You just made my point exactly about it not being particularly original!

        Face it Dave, you fell for Matt Damon’s eyes and Marky Mark’s chiselled bod just like all the rest of them… 😉

    • Actually, I agree that it was movie of the year for 2006 Kev! It was indeed a very slow year for Hollywood so I wouldn’t deny it its “best film” Oscar.
      1994, now *there* was a good year for film: Forrest Gump, The Lion King, The Client, Four Weddings and a Funeral – even Pulp Fiction if you can’t bear to go a year without your gangster fix…
      Oh, and don’t forget ‘The Shawshank Redemption’, which made it to number 1 on the imdb list despite getting the royal snub at the Oscars.
      Take me back to the good old days!

  2. Totally disagree with you. I thought it was a great film (And I bet I would hate all the other action/gangster style movies in the top 100). I thought the acting was really good (I know I couldn’t pull off that accent). And so many complex characters. I loved that in the end Jack Nicholson trusted Leo the most. It was a double-double cross and I loved it! Except I will add that I hated the woman that played the psychologist. I found her acting a bit dull and her accent came in and out which was really annoying.

    • I think she was the only dud amongst some serious actors who know their craft. I did like the movie, I just think the actors carried an otherwise weak story. But then, I am spoiled these days after so many top flicks!

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