Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The Departed (2006)

It seems I've got a bit of a thing for Boston Crime Movies, and for some reason there also seems to be a shit load of them (The Town, Gone Baby Gone, Boondock Saints etc). Not to mention the general amount of films set there like Moneyball, The Social Network, Good Will Hunting etc. Good area for film I guess. Must be a lot of tax breaks.

Anyway, The Departed. Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio cover both sides of the undercover informant dynamic between the police and the mob. Damon is the man making sure the mob is always coincidentally out of the way at the right time, and DiCaprio is constantly trying to trap them from the inside. A fantastic supporting cast fills in the rest of the roster: Jack Nicholson, Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen, Mark Wahlberg, Ray Winstone and Vera Farmiga all feature heavily. Such is the lure of a Martin Scorsese production.

It's Scorsese through and through too. Many of his, now signature, directing trademarks appear: location and thematically appropriate pop/rock music tracks soundtrack the film (Rolling Stones and Dropkick Murphys most notably here), heavily ambiguous main characters (it's easy to forget who's the supposed "good guy" in The Departed) and high strung tension wrought with guilt throughout. The Departed is a rollercoaster ride with twists and turns leading us down the rabbit hole of who's really playing who, who's ratting on who and the lengths people will stretch their morals to to save their own skin.

The deft hand of Scorsese is what takes what would have been an okay crime thriller done by anyone else to a modern classic (pretty much like everything that he touches). He might not be the most exciting director right now, but he's by far one of the most important, if not the most important person in modern cinema these days. Not only is he responsible for features like Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, Raging Bull, Gangs of New York and Shutter Island, his passion for the medium has lead him to found The Film Foundation and the World Cinema Foundation, both of which are dedicated to preserving and resoring the finest examples of cinema. He's done a four hour long documentary just on American cinema. The man has a devotion toe the medium and the craft that goes far beyond just the creation of great movies and beyond the simple appreciation of them. It's that dedication that elevates Martin Scorsese from a great director to a true icon of the film industry.

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