Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Movie Review: The Departed

Last night, I saw The Departed, and guess what? It's fucking awesome! Scorsese's latest is a remake of the Hong Kong movie Infernal Affairs about two men in opposite roles: one is a undercover cop pretending to be a mobster, and the other is a mob-backed cop serving as the mafia's own mole. Their respective organizations become aware of their existence, and they are assigned to discover each other's identities. The Departed takes place in Boston, and the head mafioso is obviously based on this guy. Here's a brief rundown on the actors:

Leonardo DiCaprio as the good cop.... Awesome. His best film since The Basketball Diaries.

Matt Damon as the bad cop....Eh. At first I didn't think his character showed enough depth, I mean, considering his role, he must have felt somewhat conflicted or guilty, but by the end of the movie, I hated him so much, that his performance became believable.

Jack Nicholson as the king of the Irish mafia.... awesome. I had heard that he was too theatrical, too "Jack being Jack," but considering he was playing Whitey Bulger, who by all accounts is a absolute monster, it's pretty much impossible to overdo anything. The portrayal of life in Southie under mob rule was accurate and hit a little too close to home for some people.

Mark Wahlberg as a detective....awesome. Brought so much authenticity to the film. I would put money down on him writing some of his own dialogue. For example, he calls DiCaprio "lace curtain," a term for snobbery I've only heard in Boston. When I moved from West Broadway to East Broadway, my former neighbors joked that I was becoming lace curtain Irish.

Martin Sheen as DiCaprio's police boss....Awesome, and somewhat presidential.

Alec Baldwin as the top cop....awesome.

Vera Farmiga as the police psychiatrist love interest of both Damon and DiCaprio...Liked the character, hated the TERRIBLE FUCKING FAKE BOSTON ACCENT. She sounded like an Italian from Long Island. Not quite as bad as Laura Linney in Mystic River, but still horrible.

Dear Hollywood,
Not everyone in Boston has a really thick accent. It's perfectly acceptable for some characters to lack an accent. No accent is much, much preferable than an awful fake one.
Everyone in Boston

So, only a couple of minor bones to pick with the plot. First of all, too much reliance on cell phones. Wouldn't the mob boss occasionally go through his people's recent calls? Wouldn't the cops look into phone records to see if they could determine who making the tip-off calls? Also, why did the police know everything about DiCaprio's past but didn't suspect Damon as the mole, even though he was also from Southie? Okay, enough nit-picking. Just go see it. Unless you're not a big fan of violence.


Tom said...

Two things: The reliance on cell phones is not far fetched. Everybody's got 'em. Also, it's wicked easy to hide your recent calls from your mobster boss, or to have the cops block access to phone records. Plus, the phones would be unregistered anyway.

Second, they know everything about everybody's past, I'd guess a big percentage of the cops in Boston are from southie or have connections there, Damon's character grew up an orphan, then did everything right in the police force, it's why he was given the job in the first place, moving up, getting things done.

eileen said...

Oh yeah, I guess the phones would have been unregistered. I still think they should have suspected Damon, though. Why not start with the cops from Southie when you know there's a leak? And his apartment was clearly out of a detective's normal price range, so that should have raised some eyebrows. Either way, the movie still rocked.

Tina said...

Random but I saw the Prestige this weekend and that was AMAZING!! You should totally check that out as well.
I saw Infernal Affairs and thought it was really good. I wonder if I should watch The Departed, too.

eileen said...

Ooh, I want to see that! Hugh Jackman AND Christian Bale? Mmmmm....

Joe C said...

I am so down with the Boston accents thing. Over the years there have been so many bad attempts at it. For instance, Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting. Face it, Hollywood, if you weren't born there, you just can't fake it. Possible exception, Gwineth Paltrow pulled off an amazingly good one on Saturday Night Live a few years ago.

Ah fuh crissake, what ah ya, retahdid?

Joe C.

ps. Born in Boston, raised in Needham.

carmen said...

i must agree with your review. i saw this movie sunday and loved it too!!

Anonymous said...

Eileen - I loved it, too! I wrote about it last week: http://hodoeporicon.blogspot.com/2006/10/boston-love-baby.html. You've written a great review!

Tricia said...

I haven't seen it, but now I have to after reading this review. I'd appreciate any other insider info (like the "lace curtain" comment) that might make it more interesting for those not from Boston.

Random aside, I never really got the Jack Nicholson love until I finally saw Chinatown (gotta love Netflix). Now I get it.

Random aside number two: my favorite movie (as in will watch over and over again) is "Next Stop, Wonderland," which is set in Boston in 1996. I'd love to hear what you think about it.

eileen said...

Thanks for the comments, folks! I think that reading the book Black Mass increased my understanding of the movie- which is not to say you won't like the movie if you're not familair with the Whitey Bulger story, because on its own, it's still a kick-ass film. However, all the stuff about Nicholson's character being an FBI informant and thus immune to prosecution is true (that's how Whitey got away- his FBI handler tipped him off), plus, the little stuff like him forcing local buisness owners to pay off his goons is also based in fact.

I've never seen Next Stop, Wonderland, but now I'll have to. My parents both really liked it, too.

Anonymous said...

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