Tuesday, January 30, 2007

"The Departed" (spoilers)

Last night was my last free Monday night for a while. I went to "The Departed." A hard film to watch, although a good-looking one, as you would expect from Scorsese. The story had some nice turns -- the mafia had infiltrated the MA state police, as the state police had infiltrated the mafia. It was sort of an updated Cold-war flick in that sense.

It was violent. Really violent. None of it redemptive, which was a nice change of pace for Hollywood. Indeed, there was no redemption in the story (and I don't mean that as an insult, I complained below about the "cheap grace" in Apocalypto by focusing the story on the surviving exception-to-the-rule).

DiCaprio and Damon turned in creditable performances. Jack Nicholson is, of course, Jack Nicholson. Still, his character in this movie seemed to me little more than a cross between his character in Prizzi's Honor and his role as the Joker in Batman.

Also, DiCaprio's and Damon's relationship with Vera Farmiga's character didn't quite work for me. Here is a woman who is supposed to have a Ph.D./M.D. and counsels police officers and criminals as her profession. The probability that she gets romantically involved with a patient in either category, let alone each of them, strikes me as infinitesimally small. (That being said, the incidence of women volunteers who become romantically attached to prisoners is non-trivial, in spite of it being a stupendous breach of common sense, not to say a breach of official prison rules.)


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