On Friday night, Susan & I finally saw the Boston-based crime drama The Departed.
This movies is the goriest and most brutal I’ve seen since The Gangs of New York. Not surprisingly, the two films share the same director Martin Scorsese. Other things in common are that they are stories about Irish mobsters and star Leonardo DiCaprio. They also share some great acting although The Departed’s villain Jack Nicholson is not up to par to Daniel Day Lewis’s great villainous performance in The Gangs of New York. I generally don’t like Nicholson, but he gets far enough away from playing himself in portraying a Whitey Bulger type of mob boss. Overall, the all-star cast is impressive including DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone, Alec Baldwin, and Vera Farmiga (who plays the only female character). Mark Wahlberg may have put in the best performance of all since I didn’t even recognize him. He plays the obnoxious hardnose cop who turns out to be the only trustworthy character one can count on.
Beyond the great acting, witty dialogue, and a good story there are some flaws in the movie. First, it is way to violent for my tastes. I’d consider seeing it again to work out the intracicies of the plot if I could see a version without all the point-blank gunshots to the head. The body count in this film is seriously high, I think the number of people killed in this movie is larger than that actual murder rate in Boston. The finale has the most major characters killing one another since Hamlet and contributes to an unsatisfactory, over-the-top ending. The idea of rats is overstated as it seems that all the cops are working for the mob and all the mobsters are in the police force. Finally, the big clue of the Citizens bank envelope is handled so unsubtly it is an insult to the audience’s intelligence. Then again I have extreme difficulty telling the difference between DiCaprio and Damon who look alike to me, so maybe I’m not to bright.
Overall, an above average movie, but far too violent.