Sunday, February 18, 2007

Rants on "The Departed"

I quickly rented The Departed the day it was released on DVD and watched it on February 14th (the perfect Valentine’s Day movie, I know). It’s taken me a couple of days to sort everything out and come up with a way to explain how much I loved it.

The whole movie is just so fucking badass and normally that’s not something that gets me this pumped (Samuel L. Jackson in Snakes on a Plane excluded). Maybe I need some more of that in my life right now, who knows? All I know is that most everyone in The Departed can kill without hesitation and/or breaking a sweat and that makes my day.

And talk about those performances…whoa. Everyone in the cast is in top-notch form. Leonardo DiCaprio proves once again how well he works with Scorsese (FYI, the first time I realized DiCaprio could act was in Scorsese’s The Aviator back in 2004) as volcanic emotions roll under his anxious and paranoid exterior. His nervous twitches and violent outbursts give the film part of its suspense (I especially love the scene where he out of nowhere smashes the guy in the bar on the head with a glass after making fun of him for ordering cranberry juice…all I could think was Damn that came out of nowhere). Matt Damon is also amazing as the weasely cop walking the fine line between good cop and bad cop (mostly teetering on bad cop, though). I also never thought much of him as an actor, but now I am totally convinced.

Don’t even get me started about all of the fantastic supporting performances in The Departed. Jack Nicholson is so over-the-top as the ultra-violent, semi-crazed Mob leader that his performance almost descends in to Baby Jane camp heaven and definitely deserved an Oscar nomination. But Mark Wahlberg also deserves his for his scene-stealing performance in which he turns ever line into a memorable one. Few small performances like his leave this much of an impression on me. Plus, we have Martin Sheen and Alec Baldwin fantastic in smaller roles (even smaller than Wahlberg’s) and the fabulous Vera Farmiga as the precinct psychiatrist who fucks both Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio. She is so amazing in this underwritten role that I wished that we could have seen more of her (maybe kicking some ass as well?).

I know this might be strange coming from me but I think that The Departed was even better than Dreamgirls (I know!). I guess I am just in love with huge ensembles with actors all at the top of their games and stories about conflicts between men (The Departed) and women (Dreamgirls) and their struggles to one up each other. C’est la vie.

My Rating: *****

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