Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Departed

So. Slow start to this blog thing. Ahem. Slowly getting into the spirit, I decided to venture out of my messy hovel and into the actual real world, and go do something.

I headed down to the Printworks with this in mind, and went to see The Departed, the new Scorsese flick, and I was not disappointed. Probably one of the best movies I've seen in years. It's a remake of the the Jap flick Infernal Affairs, and centres round 2 main characters, played by Leo De Caprio and Matt Damon. Both play rookie cops, 1 good, 1 bad. The dynamic of the story centres round the irony that Damons' character Colin Sullivan is rewarded by the law enforcement machine, says all the right things, and acts respectable, but is actually corrupt, and in the pay of Jack Nicholson's demonic mob boss character Frank Costello.

Meanwhile, Leo's character Billy Costigan is told he isn't clean enough to join the filth when he graduates the police training academy, despite his obvious ability, intelligence and sincerity, because of the criminal background of his family, and is kindly lumbered with the dirty assignment of going undercover and ingratating himself with Nicholson, all the while living in abject terror of being found out.

The result is a filmmaking masterclass from Scorsese, and the talented cast, with De Caprio and his evil foil Damon both standing out for particular praise. I've always had my doubts about De Caprio being a lightweight who's traded on his looks, but this is a heavyweight performance where he captures perfectly the angst of the character, who has courage and bombast in spades to hang out with villains, the genius and savvy to talk his way out of being found out again and again by Nicholson, and the vulnerability of a man terrified he's in over his head. Damon similarly plays the slimy Sullivan with great refinement, hoodwinking most of his colleagues and superiors, and gaining more and more power and influence.

Most reviews I've seen concentrate on Nicholson's mack daddy mobster Costello, at 69 one of the best things he's ever done. There's also a fine support from an ensemble cast with excellent performances from aggressive but honest cop Mark Walberg, good father figure Martin Sheen, and psychologist and girlfriend Vera Farmiga, who highlights the contrast between the scheming Sullivan and Costigan perfectly as she is torn between them.

Props ultimately go to Scorese himself for directing this mamma with the kind of gusto not seen since his glory days with movies like Taxi Driver, and Goodfellas. Business has been a bit hit and miss since the latter, with partial successes in the likes of Gangs of New York and The Aviator, but this touches on all of his finest work, even if the mileu is moved from New York Italian community he grew up in to the hard drinking, macho world of Bostons' Irish mob.

I could say more but I won't, other than go see it, undoubtedly the best movie of the year.

1 comment:

Soupdragon said...

Sorry, have to say the original (from Hong Kong, not Japan...) was far better. I haven't seen The Departed, mostly cos I can't fathom how in the simple past Hell they cast Leo De Craprio in the part of Tony Leung....
Well, whatever, eh.

Anyway, point being (not good at this kinda thing!), me mate who dunt even like Hong Kong films watched the original, and then went out and watched the re-make. She said it "sucked Big Time", which I assume means it were shite.
She mentioned the first hour were slow, the reasons the two protagonists were doing what they were doing weren't explained much, and that at the end she just kinda went "bovvered" ~ again, I'm assuming this means she weren't interested, LOL

Anyway, found me way here from the Manchizzle (yer famous, love!), thought I'd pop by and say hello.
"Hello!"
I'll be reading. :)

SD