Watching all the movies on the Warner Bros. 50-movie box set that I bought for cheap. This week the random number generator has some chowdah and slams back a pint o’Guinness as it selects The Departed.
Here’s what happens: The Boston police are waging war against crime boss Frank Costello. Colin Sullivan is a corrupt cop secretly loyal to Costello. Billy Costigan is an undercover cop deep within Costello’s organization. Let the double crosses begin!
Why it’s famous: After several years of directing artsy stuff like Kundun and Bringing Out the Dead alongside ambitious oddities like Gangs of New York and The Aviator, Martin Scorcese returns to the “epic crime” genre that made him famous, this time with some Boston flavor.
Get your film degree: This movie has a ton of characters and a surprise plot twist every ten minutes or so. Normally that would all be too much, but Scorcese makes it all work through clean, confident direction. He makes sure the audience has all the information needed to follow this plot, but in an overly show-offy way.
Movie geekishness: Are some of the Boston accents in this movie a bit much? Leo DiCaprio and Matt Damon do okay, but Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen, and Mark Wahlberg (a Mass. Native, no less) lay it on really thick. There are times when the cast come off as doing the “look at how hard I’m acting” thing.
Thoughts upon this viewing: Despite my complaints, I like the movie a lot, especially how it tightens the noose around the characters in its second half, as everyone gets more and more paranoid about getting caught in their schemes. Great stuff.
Next week: Sniper! Get your head down!
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